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Delhi govt school teachers take up challenge on Teachers' Day
Ducks quack and complain; Eagles soar above the crowd. Accordingly, the Education Department of Delhi government performs above the expectations. An assessment study recently carried out in the government schools by their teachers found that more than 74 per cent of their students are unable to read, leave aside the understanding and writing part.

Instead of sitting back and lamenting upon the situation, the Directorate of Education swung into action and after much brainstorming took it up as a challenge to overcome the situation. They decided to set up a timeline for themselves to make these students readable in 70 days, i.e from the Teachers Day Sept 5 to the Children's Day Nov 14. What a coincidence of dates and days!

The teachers will take a pledge on the Teachers Day to work on the basics of these students in laying a strong foundation by enabling all of them to read in the first place. The road map states that once they are able to read, they will automatically understand and enable themselves to pick up on writing too.

The vision is to improve the quality of education in Delhi by imparting education to all, not as a formality but in a real sense. The objective is to inculcate the confidence and habit that, I can read, I can understand, I can learn, I can write and I can do….

All these years the ASER in its report has been mentioning about this flaw in the education system and the custodians have been addressing it by saying, "All is well, all is well". For the first time, the government has come up with a comprehensive plan to address the anomaly in the system by taking the onus on itself and make the difference.

Teachers have taken up the cudgels to raise the reading level and have been put to test. The yardstick is that by Nov 14th all students will be at least in a position to read their text, between 15th to 20th State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) will assess the reading level situation and after 21st Nov the public comprising of educationists, journalists, activists and intellectuals from other walks of life will be entitled to interact with students to see the difference based on the baseline study.

Announcing 'Chunauti 70 Days', the Delhi's Education Minister, Manish Sisodia asserted that incentives and awards will be given to the outstanding Heads of schools and teachers where significant jump is noted. He said, "If students can't read, what's the use of best curriculum and best infrastructure?"

A 'Literate' is any person who is able to read and write on his own and 'Literacy' is the ability to read and write. Literacy is the main foundation for social and economic growth in India. In the year 1947, the literacy rate was just 12%. Over the years, India has changed socially, economically, and globally. After the 2011 census, literacy rate was found to be 74.04%. Though the government has made a law that every child under the age of 14 should get free education, the problem of illiteracy is still at large.

This year, Kerala has become the first Indian state to achieve 100 per cent primary education. This has been achieved through the primary education equivalency drive of the state literacy mission - Athulyam.

The equivalency programmes have proved a huge success and the ultimate objective is to achieve total plus-two education in the state. Chunauti 70 Days is the beginning of a literacy mission in Delhi.

You don't die if you fall in water; you die only if you don't swim.

(Manoj Varghese is a journalist by profession and SBCC Specialist)

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