Let me sum the main concerns raised through comments to the last post where I proposed a simplistic model to curb illiteracy in India.
- Will the children/parent be willing to take up education at the first place?
- How to find and retain the teaching-volunteers over long term?
- How to avoid corruption in the recruiting process?
- Is Akshar-gyaan enough?
I don’t have perfect answers to any of the above questions. All of them are valid issues. But could there be a way to sort them out? I don’t know. I will attempt.
What this model offers is a financial incentive to anyone who can prove that he taught couple of children how to read and how to write. The money is paid only when it is verified that the guy who is claiming to have taught, is able to produce children who can pass a test taken by the state government. The children who pass the test will have to confirm the name of the person who taught them, and that person in the end, gets reimbursed for his services based on the number of successful candidates.
So you see, the beauty of the model is that the state government shifts the risk of not being able to get enough children to the would be volunteers. It’s up to that educated guy in the village to make some quick money by teaching few kids in his spare time. It’s up to him to find such kids, to convince few parents that it’s not a bad idea to let their children learn the art of reading and writing. How he does is, is his problem. This model assumes that as long as the monitory incentive is good enough, individuals will figure out some way to achieve the bottomline. And the bottomline is only the final number of children who can pass a certain test.
Coming to the issue of long-term retainment, which is important by all means, all I can say is that, as long as the bottomline, as talked about in the last paragraph is being met, the state should not really be concerned about what happens in between. By sheer logic of this model, no volunteer would like to shift during a term because in that case he won’t get paid at all!
As far as the problem of corruption is concerned, there could be many other ways of that happening besides of course what Adarsh pointed out from his real-life example. But at least, what happens with the recruitment of Shiksha mitras won’t hold true in this model of imparting education. Here, everyone is free to make money. There are no appointments as such. Anyone who can manage to get hold of some children, teach them and help them pass a test, makes money. Talk about open market.
However, all said and done, a basic question remains, as pointed to by dear friend Divyanshu. Is only akshar gyaan sufficient at the first place? Don’t the children, even if they live in remote villages, have the right to learning more than just reading and writing? I say yes and I totally agree with Divyanshu on this one. And to be frank, my model fails to solve this issue. What I would like to say here is that, though akshar gyaan is not enough, isn’t it better than no gyaan to the millions of underprivileged children of rural India? At least if they know how to read and write, won’t they be better off than what they are today? Could we at least call them literate then?
Friends, take the discussion forward. Let’s talk more. You never know, when a small idea can change the way things have always been working.