“Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.”, and with this faith, the Times of India has initiated the Teach India Campaign. They have taken up a rigorous campaign to impart education amongst the illiterate children in the four metros. It is an effort to infuse the spirit of volunteerism in the educated citizens by encouraging them to contribute their valuable time from their busy schedules towards imparting non-formal primary education to the children who have so far been deprived of it.
Multiple credible stakeholders like NGOs, Corporates, Educational Institutions have come forward to support this movement, ultimately creating a web of shared thought and knowledge. The programme has engaged 60 NGOs , corporates , schools and social organisations in this cause.
Times Foundation has redeemed its position as an apex body in the development sector by disseminating information and bringing credible partners from civil society on board as partners for the campaign. Times Foundation has also played a key role in bringing United Nation Volunteers as strategic partners for Teach India. UNVs has been crucial in the formulation and setting up of procedures and programmatic dimensions and introducing the volunteers to the respective NGOs of Teach India. Times Foundation will be involved in the continuous monitoring of the campaign as it evolves to other cities.
The initiative to bring a change in the downtrodden system is a big step which Times Foundation has taken. However, if the illiteracy rate of the whole nation is taken into consideration, the rural India has the illiteracy level of 60 per cent as compared to urban areas where it is only 40 per cent. In this scenario, these kind of campaigns should be carried forward more extensively at the grass root level. There are innumerable NGOs which can take this campaign further in the urban areas, but the real challenge lies in extending this campaign further to the interiors of rural India and actually imparting education to each and every child.
Teach India is undoubtedly a good campaign where they have put an effort to make literate people educate the illiterates. However, carrying it only in the Metros does not majorly solve the menace of illiteracy prevalent in India. Arindam Bhattacharya, a banking consultant avers that “to initiate a campaign in such a large scale is quite a commendable job but it would have been better if they had initiated in more chronic rural areas.” Soumitra Das, a dynamic journalist however begs to differ, “The response in big centres can judge and assess the success and acceptance of the campaign in the rural areas”, she says.
However, whatever said and done, if two hours a week can ensure a bright future for an illiterate child, then every citizen must take part in this campaigning. Right now, this seems the only way we can remove the widespeard illiteracy prevalent in India and help pave the way for a progressive Young India.
[Image Source: http://flickr.com/photos/worldbank/2241690719/]