This wonderful news comes to us from India.
It takes years to get literate and stand on one’s own feet. This job is difficult but not impossible. Everyone has the right to education and this has been applied by Sunita Gandhi, an educationist in Lucknow who teaches out-of-school children and makes them literate in just 30 hours. She has been doing this for five years and shall replicate her model in other parts of the country by the next year.
Gandhi said, “We hope to take this to 20 states by the end of next year, hopefully reaching out to 20 lakh out-of-school children.” This project has been named as ‘Global Dream Project’ and is entirely volunteer-driven. It is based on a simple principle of asking children what they know and start building on it. So, instead of a uniform structure for all students, it breaks down things for each child.
Tom Delaney, 24, literacy programme trainer with the project, said, “Some of my students are unlettered despite having attended school. They have been told they are ‘nalayak’ (useless) and beaten up. But it’s not that they don’t know things.” He further added, “They can recognize pictures, know sounds for words. We take them from what they do know to what they don’t.
Each session is carried out for not more than 15 minutes as the children are from underprivileged backgrounds and they remain short on time. The teacher asks them questions instead of telling things that they repeat. When it comes to recognizing words, for instance, it isn’t just about identifying letters. The project includes a toolkit that starts by relating pictures to syllables. These syllables are then combined to make words. In bite-sized pieces with visual and auditory cues, each child is then taught to recognise words. The toolkit includes 30 lessons – 60 short videos, books, alphabet cutouts, and stationery items.
This initiative will not only educate children but also will create a sense of confidence in them so that they don’t feel useless anymore.
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