Agartala, Sept 20 : Education is the key that opens up many doors. To a great extent it is true, and the people of Jirania block in West Tripura firmly believe in this adage. This is evident from the fact that the block has registered a record 97 per cent literacy rate and has set an example for the entire northeast region. Till 1995, more than 20, 000 people were illiterate in Jirania but today only 347 adults are away from the ray of education. While, the national literacy rate is around 65.38 per cent, Jirania block of West Tripura has registered a record of 97 per cent in literacy, which is a result of dedicated volunteers.
"Sarva Siksha Abhiyan," the Adult Education Program of the Central government has become the identity of Jirania. Juhera Khatun, a volunteer of Literacy Program in Tripura firmly believes that education is a necessity. "If the mother is not literate then her children shall also remain illiterate. Without education a person is as good as being blind and so we have taken this project as a challenge. Here we gather all the village women and make them literate. Our classes start from 2 P.M. onward. I am involved in the total literacy programme since 1994 and today we have almost achieved our target," said Khatun. enu Saha, a teacher in a Government School of Jirania said, "Government has opened this center and here the poor illiterate people come for literacy. Our center is open between 2 P.M. to 4 P.M. so that it is convenient for people from all walks of life. Moreover, Panchayats here have made it compulsory for all those who collect their money under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) to put their signature and so they have to be literate for this." The literacy program has become a source of new hope for hundreds of adults in the age group of 15 to 50 years. Classes are being carried out in afternoons to have maximum turnout, as the womenfolk are free from their household work. Today not only men but also women are coming to the centers. They believe education is one's fundamental right, which will help in wiping away the curse of poverty and deprivation. "We the tribal people are backward as a large number of us are still illiterate and realizing this we have joined this centre. Now I can not only read and write but also do arithmetic and count money. Now people cannot fool me by giving me ten rupees and getting my thumb mark in paper mentioning a bigger amount," said Samba Laxmi Debbarma, a beneficiary of the literacy programme. Tripura is marching forward to achieve the goal of 'universalisation with quality' and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan is not only benefiting the adults but youngsters as well. In fact, the success of a program depends not only on those implementing it but also on the determination of the beneficiaries for whom it is being implemented. By Pinaki Das