Vatsap’s model to curb illiteracy: part 2

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.

11 replies on “Vatsap’s model to curb illiteracy: part 2”

Vatsap, bother to read this. It is a page on the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan website on the following:
1. Non Formal Education Scheme, its implementation and shortcomings.
2.Education Guarantee Scheme & Alternative and Innovative Education
Isn’t this on similar lines to what we’re talking about?


Thank you so much for passing on the link to me. Others who are interested in the issue, should also have a look at the page.

I have already noticed one basic difference between the model worked out in the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and the model that I came up with. I should write about that in part 3. Others can comment in the meanwhile.

Thank you Jayan once again for the link.

A few days ago, they were showing sum strange kinda “school” in sum punjabi area… forgotten whr exactly it was… thr was a surd head… all female students… less than half a dozen formal “teachers”… the students more or less self-studied.. .like if sumone was gud in math, she wud help another in tht subject who wasn’t gud in it… same with all other subjects… 1-to-1 basis…. teachers came into the picture only in cases whr even the toppers got stuck..

Entire school run by the students… collection of fees… all toher administration… not even money, so the classes r conducted ouot in the grounds in broad daylight…

Everything else can be worked out… the main prb is just getting the parents to send their kids to study (especially the girl children)… and the students themselves willing to study….

Once long ago they were showing abt this other school sumwhr in India… I dont remember the details of this one either… but thr the students were offered sum kinda monetary incentive for making themselves clean n turning up for school every day…

Never understood why we discussed all these things though… everybody just discusses n plans n whetever… but nobody ever does anything abt anything… just reminds me of all the many thngs i had wanted to do… until i finally had to become “practical”….

sorry if i sound a bit of a “downer”… but all these discussions just tend to highlight the uselessness of our lives…

But then again… do we really need to bother abt the poor n underpriviledged?.. .r we god? is it really our job to save the world? i dont know… im just too confused…

“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?”

I echo that spirit. I studied in a government school. I have seen how the system works. I’ve seen classmates dropping out. Providing good education to children throughout the nation requires an effective schooling system. But, there isnt one today. Indications are that we’re indeed into the task of building one. How long it would take and how good it would turn out to be depends on how cognizant we are of the problems in hand and how well we plan and execute. But, we cannot afford to miss out today’s children just for the sake that the system isnt perfect now.

We have Ministries (Education, Family Welfare, Human Resource Development…), Non governmental organizations (AID India, C.R.Y.,) working towards making universal primary education viable. Though there are dedicated departments and schemes formulated which are operative in different parts of the nation, there are indeed a lot of gaps to cover.
We might need to initially answer a few questions to refine this idea:
1. What is this model for?
2. Where is this model intended to work? Children in remote areas of the country where the tentacles of the schooling system couldnt / hasnt bothered to reach out ?
3. Is this entirely non formal education supported and monitored by the state but operated by selected volunteers?
4. With so many government departments and ngos working in the same direction, is the idea that is getting generated already researched and working under the umbrella of some scheme?

@Kaddu, Jayan

Thank you so much for all the words above. I am working on all the issues you have raised. Should come up with a part 3 in some time.

Thanks again.

btw… for those you knew not.. our man had contributed to the Indian education scenario in his own little way… by teaching coupla little kids who had trouble with high school math and physics….

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