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The aim of adult education is to offer extended education to interested adults who have exceeded the age of formal education but are now interested in continuing their learning in order to acquire a skill, achieve equivalency, complete literacy or basic education. Although the Indian constitution does not permit it, the cultural bias in many places prevents girls from having the same right to education as boys. A suggested solution is a comprehensive education for both genders. Awareness, and availing of existing government schemes for the underprivileged are long term solutions. Addressing specific needs of a village in a timely manner offers short term solutions.
For e.g. in Gujarat, the young adult girls, who were not allowed to go to the neighboring village to attend high school were enrolled in NIOS (National institute of Open Schooling) and given special tutoring to take the exam in March. All except one of the girls passed the exam with high marks. One woman, who had stopped her education after eighth grade eight years ago, now married with a child, took the exam and scored 88.8% marks.
In many rural areas, the schooling system does not expose students to alternate careers and ways to pursue them, with the result that several educated youth with bachelors or masters degrees are unemployed.
Amrita RITE attempts to provide career guidance to such youth through counseling and mentoring workshops. Often, the major participants in our adult literacy program are adults who need basic literacy and numeracy to develop vocational skills.
According to the National Literacy Mission, Functional Literacy implies achieving self-reliance in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, becoming aware of the cause of one’s shortcomings and attempting to correct them; acquiring skills to improve economic status and general wellbeing; and creating an aware and responsible citizenry.
Amrita RITE identifies non-literates through a survey and their learning needs are identified. RITE then provides instructional training in Functional Literacy. Daily classes provide necessary structure to practice of skills. Successful completion of the training enables learner to read and comprehend unknown text ,example newspaper headings, road signs, bus-boards, etc. It also enables them to apply writing skills in activities like filling application forms, writing letters, etc. and do simple computation involving multiplication and division. A certificate is issued to every learner who successfully completes the course based on a professional evaluation of the learning outcome.
One of the unique features of our daily adult literacy classes is the half-hour awareness training session. Awareness videos and apps are played on the tablets educating mothers and other participants on topics such as the value of nutrition, need for immunization for their children, proper hygiene practices, and other topics pertinent to the need.
An effective way of motivating parents to go through a literacy class is to have their child teach them to read and write. Using the child-teach-adult learning model, we offer incentives to children to educate one adult in their family. A curriculum is adhered to and children are made the teachers. At the end of the course, a test is taken and adult literacy certificates are awarded to those who successfully complete the course.
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