Making India literate is everyone’s responsibility. Dr. APJ Kalam asked every literate person to make atl least one child or adult literate.
Post COVID, many more children are unable to attend school. There are some 300 million adults in India who cannot read or write. Schools can play a major role by channeling the idealism of youth to make India literate.
The good news is that we have ground-breaking new methods that make it possible to make a person literate and numerate within 90-days of instruction. Most learners can learn to read a newspaper within 5 to 6 weeks if they attend daily teaching sessions. The sessions are short—often just 15-20 minutes long, which most of our children can devote for a period of a few months.
Good news also is that we have a completely free app: Literacy Now. This was launched on 5 May 2022. It already has 30,000 student volunteers on it. We invite your school children to join the Literacy Now Campaign and we hope you will.
A child of Grades 5 to 12 can teach. You can make it compulsory for certain grades and optional for others. Our student volunteers can find a learner in and around their home, or teach in a zero period on a daily basis in school. Daily lessons are necessary to ensure learning is efficient and quick. Ask us how other schools are doing it. All children can become agents of social transformation, not just receive a valuable certificate as a Leader of Change.
The benefits for our student volunteers are manifold. Research in the US shows children who participate in service projects with real-life connection, such as teach someone, they begin to surpass their previous records in academics, among other gains. Many children reported learning patience, hard work, happiness despite difficulties, and even more appreciation for the teacher. They have become more attentive in class, and more focused on their studies. They have learned many life-skills.
Please see the case study of four student volunteers on page 2 of this article.
Sunita Gandhi, Ph.D. Cambridge University, UK
Former Economist, The World Bank, USA
Founder-CEO, DEVI Sansthan, India
Chief Academic Advisor, City Montessori School, Lucknow, World’s Largest School
Komal is studying Education Policy on a grant from Harvard University's Graduate School of Education since the fall of 2021. Earlier too, for her undergraduate studies, Komal received 100% scholarship (including partial accommodation) at Denver University. Komal has entered her name in the India Book of Records for her leadership in service and made it to the Top 20 of 2020 Records. Her mother accredits her amazing accomplishments to her leadership work in Global Dream Campaign from Grade 9 onwards.
Ilika is another super talented individual studying Economics and Computer Science as a final year student at Mount Holyoke, a Liberal Arts College in Massachusetts. She began teaching with Global Dream in Grade 9. In 2021, Ilika wrote her Global Dream experience in the most prestigious IBECC: International Business Ethics Case Competition and won the Charity Essay Prize ($300) which she donated to DEVI Sansthan for Global Dream.
Prakriti is pursuing Chemistry at Cornell University since the fall of 2021 on almost 100% Tata Trust Scholarship. Prakriti's parents say this project has helped her gain real skills that are as powerful as the academic training she has received.
Currently in Grade 10, Gargi started to teach with Global Dream Toolkits when she was in Grade 4. She found her first learner, a 14-year-old Sanskriti, from a slum near her home. Gargi has taught 7 learners of 12 to 42 years of age till date. She says: “Global Dream has made me a better person and helped me to accomplish more in academics. Seeing the urge and curiosity of my learners, I learned nothing is difficult, and that hard work is important.”
Such an outcome is not possible without support and encouragement of the parents to take up Global Dream wholeheartedly. There is no better way to prepare children for life because there will be new challenges every day and some ups and downs. The children will learn to execute a project from its inception to completion without giving up. Cherish and uphold the virtues of honest engagement, teach your children the importance of service, and to complete a task begun. If they have not begun, please support them in doing so now. Giving someone the gift of literacy is the highest worship we can offer to Almighty God.
DEVI Sansthan, 12 Station Road, Lucknow 226001, U.P. India
+91 740 840 6000
DEVI Sansthan (Dignity Education Vision International) is a non-profit organisation founded in Lucknow, India, to provide the dignity of quality education to underprivileged children and adults. Our vision is to achieve Universal FLN for all children by 2030, as envisioned by SDG 4. In this direction, we aim to make 10 million children and adults literate in India by 2030. Globally, we aim to make 1 billion learners literate through our Disruptive Literacy Partnership. Through its flagship Global Dream Disruptive Literacy program, DEVI is creating large-scale transformation by implementing research-based, swift, scalable and replicable methods and approaches to FLN.
DEVI Sansthan is founded by the educationist Dr Sunita Gandhi while working as an Economist at the World Bank in Washington D.C. She is the Hon. Chief Academic Advisor of City Montessori School, Lucknow, holds the Guinness Book Record for being the World's Largest School and is the recipient of the UNESCO Prize for Peace Education. She was awarded Educator of the Year, 2015 by the India Book of Records and honoured with the Visionary of Uttar Pradesh by the government.