In Telangana, these moms home-schooled by their children clear Telugu exam

Over 41,000 women learn the Telugu alphabet from their own children and clear exam conducted by National Institute of Open Schooling

November 27, 2019 01:12 am | Updated 10:48 am IST - HYDERABAD

Roles reversed:  Children enthusiastically prepared their mothers for the literacy test.

Roles reversed: Children enthusiastically prepared their mothers for the literacy test.

Over 41,000 women in Telangana’s Sangareddy district can now feel the power of the written word after learning the alphabet for the first time. What is more, they were home-schooled by their own children.

The women have cleared the examination conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

The NIOS exam is normally taken by 4,000 to 5,000 neo-literates from each district annually, but that number exceeded the norm ten times, thanks to the Sangareddy programme for female literacy initiated by the then District Collector, Manicka Raj Kannan, in 2017. The district was carved out from Medak.

The Saakshar Bharat Mission (SBM) imparts functional literacy and numeracy, but faced a shortage of coordinators. Mr. Kannan then decided to rope in school children.

In 2017, the district administration developed ‘Ammaku Akshara Mala’ (alphabet garland for mother) and roped in students in Classes VII to X. They were asked to teach their mothers to read and write the Telugu alphabet at home . Most women were part of Self-Help Groups but not literate. The administration identified 52,000 women as eligible to take the exam and sent the list to the Central government. The women got books developed by the district administration. “We drafted volunteers from the Indira Kranthi Patham, a rural poverty alleviation scheme, to give worksheets to the SHG members,” said V. Venkateswarulu, Sangareddy District Panchayat Officer and Project Director in-charge, DRDA.

15-day teaching module

Of 48,000 women who took the exam in March 2018, 41,000 passed in writing, reading and numerical skills. In a 15-day literacy module, the women were taught four letters of the Telugu alphabet in a day. The Collector visited the schools and told the students that their vacation assignment was to teach their mothers, said Mr. Venkateswarulu.

Certificates were sent to the Adult Education department three months ago and last week, Sangareddy’s present Collector, M. Hanumantha Rao, distributed the certificates to 150 women.

Mr.Venkateswarulu said the remaining certificates would be handed over to the women at their doorstep. in the presence of their children and other family members. The village sarpanches will visit the homes of these neo-literates as a mark of appreciation.

The women who cleared reading and writing but needed improvement in numerical skills would get certificates but would be encouraged to take the numerical exam again.

Mr. Kannan, now Collector of Hyderabad, says the effort could be tried in Hyderabad and other districts. Yadamma (40) from Indrakaran in Kandi mandal of Sangareddy said, “My son Vikas and daughter Mounika taught me. I am happy I lived up to their expectations.”

Vikas taught her when he was in class IX said it took his mother about six months to master writing and reading. “We used to give her tests at home to prepare her for the main exam. When the Collector told us about our assignment of teaching, I felt happy. Today I feel proud,” he said.

Was he strict with his mother while making her learn the alphabet? Helaughs and says it was fun teaching her.

Sarpanch Venuvardhan Reddy vowed: “We will make every woman a literate in the village,” he said.

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