Padho Punjab-a mission to spread literacy in rural Punjab

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Amritsar, Sep.18 (ANI): Education in government-run-schools of Punjab has been found to be lacking the kind of quality and standard expected of it.

A survey conducted under 'Padho Punjab' programme revealed that most of the primary kids in the State could not read or write. Over 50 per cent of the standard V children cannot read a story in Punjabi, over 25 per cent cannot write Punjabi letters and almost 40 per cent cannot subtract and almost 70 per cent do not know how to divide.

To raise the standard in the government-run schools, especially in rural areas, 'Padho Punjab' or, Study Punjab, a joint venture between the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, a literacy drive of the Central Government, and a non-governmental organisation is being carried out. It is hoped to transform the lives of underprivileged children.

Training is being given to teachers and block primary education officers under 'Padho Punjab' to improve education standard in government-run primary schools.

Being conducted under 'Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan' (education for all) in collaboration with 'Pratham', a non-government organization, the project aims to improve teaching abilities of government schoolteachers.

Initially, the trainers are teaching students for two hours a day. Later, they will include this pattern in their routine teaching as well.

'Padho Punjab' project has made a huge difference to a number of underprivileged students. The students of primary schools, who are being taught Hindi, English, Punjabi and arithmetic, have shown tremendous progress since its launch on July 7, 2008.

"Besides regular classes, the students have been divided into three groups, on the basis of their abilities. A group consists of children, who are weak in studies and they are given special attention as per 'Padho Punjab' scheme. It helps strengthen their abilities and skills. Now, English is also taught to these students," said Sandeep Seyal, Center Master Trainer.

"We want children to take admission in government-run schools rather than private schools. The children are now being taught to recite poems in English. We are teaching how to greet people and as they change and grow they motivate others as well. People now know that we teach English in government schools. The children have started doing well because of the hard work put in by teachers and an improvement in infrastructure," said Gurpreet Singh, Block master trainee.

"The children are now showing keen interest in studies. There is a play-way method being used for children who earlier used to consider studies a burden. They are now curious about learning new things. English has played an important role in bringing about this transformation," said Suman, a teacher at Primary school in Village Kameerpura.

In academic year 2008-09, the Punjab government had spent 40.6 out of 53 million dollars, sanctioned for the implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in the State.

The amount was spent on developing school infrastructure, recruitment of teachers and providing stationary to children.

The 'Padho Punjab' project has given a fillip to Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in Punjab, by significantly improving the quality of primary education in the state. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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