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An Initiative for Social Change Through Adult Literacy in Odisha

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An Initiative for Adult Literacy: Odisha
Bhubaneswar: A working adult is unlikely to have the freedom to simply quit his or her job and go "back to school" full time. Public school systems and community colleges usually offer evening or weekend classes for this reason. This is often referred to as "second-chance", and many schools offer tailor-made courses and learning programs for these returning learners.

Learning alphabets and writing names on their own, is a great fun for the people of Gurubeda village these days. A batch of 40 adult males and females sitting with utmost discipline, enthusiastically following the teacher and practicing alphabets and numbers during the evening hours, definitely hints at the advent of a new revolution of adult literacy in the village.

With a population of 556, which includes 265 males and 254 females, Gurubeda has remained in shambles, so far as literacy rate is concerned. Census data reveals, a meager 12 percent of the population is literate, and thus majority of the villagers are often victimised to poverty, poor health, superstition, exploitation and lack of awareness about their fundamental rights.

As a responsible corporate citizen, EMIL has taken up the initiative to convert the adult population of Gurubeda village into literates by imparting them the required informal education and guidance. The adult literacy programme by EMIL is in addition to the number of developmental activities and social infrastructures created by the corporate in the form of drinking water facilities, electricity supply, community centre, school, anganwadi centre etc.

A nation cannot grow, if half of its population remain uneducated. Similarly, to bring social change in an area, majority of adults and youth have to be literates and educated. Realising the fact very well EMIL has started the adult literacy programme and designed a special curriculum to make the classes more meaningful and result-oriented.

In the batch of 40, in the adult literacy class Ramjan Munda (45) is the only person who is literate. He has been engaged for teaching his co-villagers. While learning alphabets, the adult villagers are re-discovering themselves with a better feeling of confidence and enlightenment, which would definitely take them to a better world and improve their lifestyles.

About Adult Education

Adult Education aims at extending educational options to those adults, who have lost the opportunity and have crossed the age of formal education, but now feel a need for learning of any type, including, basic education (literacy), skill development (Vocational Education) and equivalency.

Despite significant accomplishments, illiteracy continues to be a grave concern. 2001 Census recorded male literacy at 75.26% while female literacy remained at an unacceptable level of 53.67%. Census of 2001 also revealed that gender and regional disparities in literacy continued to persist.

Therefore, to bolster Adult Education and Skill Development, Government introduced two new schemes, namely Saakshar Bharat and Scheme for Support to Voluntary Agencies for Adult Education and Skill Development, during the 11th Plan.

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