A global event featuring leaders from UNESCO, Government of India, British Council, Rotary and well known Educational Institutions, was inaugurated at the Chennai Trade Centre by Mr. Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Human Resources Development, GOI. Around 3000 Rotarians from all over India are participating in this 3 day conference which has Total Literacy and Quality Education as its underline theme. Rotary will implement the same all over India through the TEACH Program. Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Mr. Alan Gemmel, Director, British Council, Ms. Racquel Shroff, Group CEO, Global Education, Mr. Shigeru Aoyagi, Director & UNESCO Representative to India, along with a galaxy of experts are participating.
Mr Prakash Javadekar, during his address as Chief Guest at the inaugural session of Rotary South Asia Literacy Summit 2017 expressed his concern over the huge percentage of illiterates in India (Home for world’s 1/3rd adult non-literates). He said, If each child teaches an adult non-literate, the country will become totally literate in couple of years. It is not only the people becoming literate but also ensuring that the children receive quality education in our schools. He appreciated the Rotary leadership for taking Total Literacy & Quality Education” as their next mission for South Asia, after eradication of polio the world over.
Javadekar added, Through literacy, India can achieve its goal of being the Super Power with a heart of gold, where anybody and everybody can live in harmony without bothering about the race or their colour.
Rtn. John Germ, President, Rotary International, said, The heart of Rotary is our members – dedicated people who share a passion for community service and friendship. The brain is the innovative thinking which brings about perfection in strategic planning and execution which impacts millions of people across the World. The eradication of Polio is a classical example of how Rotarians think and wok. Now, the literacy drive is yet another ambitious project put together by the Rotarians in India and I am confident that in the next few years, India will be country with a difference. There will be hardly anyone who is illiterate, thus, making India a real superpower.
Six Literacy Heroes Honoured
Rotary also honoured the “unsung literacy warriors” through Literacy Hero Awards 2017. Award was given for 4th consecutive year to such people and organizations who are doing outstanding work to in the field of literacy, not as a part of their work or profession but as a passion and establishing examples for others.
The award is selected through a rigorous process that goes over a period of 5 to 6 months by a Jury of eminent people of different fields from the society. This year, the Jury was chaired by Hon’ble Justice of Rajasthan High Court Shri. Munishwar Nath Bhandari and other members include Shri Sudarshan Agarwal, Former Governor of Uttarakhand and Sikkim; Prof. Shantha Sinha, Magsaysay Award Winner, Ex-Chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights; Shri. Y. S. K. Seshu Kumar (IFS), Joint Secretary; Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor, O. P. Jindal Global University; Shri Achyut Das and Mrs. Sandra R. Shroff, Chairman, Gnyan Dham School.
This year there were 5 Jury awards, given to Mr Achyut Das, Odisha, Aspire India, a non- profit organization, Mr Khimji Karsan Bhai, Mehsana Gujarat, Mr Rajesh Sharma, Shakarpur Delhi, Shima Modak, Shillong, Mr Sharath Kumar Puppala, Andhra Pradesh and one most popular choice award through more than 75 lack online votes for 154 applications. Each award comprises of a cash prize of Rs.1 lack and a citation.
According to Rtn. PRID Sekhar Mehta, who spearheads the Rotary India Literacy Mission, “We are a body of Rotarians in India, united by the goal of achieving Total Literacy and Quality Education. Towards this, we have embarked on a very scientific program which can be evaluated and is called “TEACH”. As the journey towards “Total Literacy & Quality Education” cannot be completed alone therefore Rotary is joining hands with various stake holders.
The Government of Maharashtra and Rotary India Literacy Mission have signed a MoU today to equip classrooms with digital content in 18,510 government or government aided schools in the State of Maharashtra. This would be achieved with the support from corporate houses through their CSR initiative.
- T –Teacher Training, E – e-Learning in Schools, A – Adult Literacy, C – Children back to School and H – Happy Schools.
- Achievements of the TEACH program so far:
- Trained 19,467 teachers in primary schools.
- Established 9,009E-learning Centres in schools.
- Educated 61,500 adult non-literates.
- Sent 45,107 children back to school.
- Upgraded 1420 schools to ‘Happy Schools’ to curtail student dropouts.
Each of these 5 verticals, with specific focus, is interlinked with others, so as to contribute to the goal of total literacy. Understanding the enormity of the task, Rotary has decided to adopt and implement the T-E-A-C-H strategy. Rotary is forging strong partnerships with the Government, Corporate, National/State specific NGOs as well as international organizations in this countrywide endeavour. 10 MoUs have been signed today at the summit with different organisations, giving a great thrust to this activity, added Mr. Sekhar.
According to Rtn. Kalyan Banerjee, Past Rotary International President, “Rotary India Literacy Mission’s (RILM) focus is on “Total Literacy and Quality Education. The program has gained wide acceptance and today many School Children have been brought back to schools and thousands of teachers have been trained across India thus, creating a positive outlook for the Country.