The Telegraph
Thursday , September 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Moms learn on reformer B’day

Kandi, Sept. 26: Students got a holiday on Vidyasagar’s birth anniversary today but it was school time for a group of parents in a Murshidabad village.

On the birth anniversary of the reformer and educationist, teachers of Andulia Primary School, 40km form Behrampore, started the novel initiative of educating unlettered mothers of students in a district that has one of the lowest literacy rates in the state.

Anindya Sinha, the headmaster of the school, said classes would be held for the parents every Sunday. Sinha, who planned the initiative, said the six teachers would take turns to teach the mothers.

“I have noticed that 70 per cent of mothers attending the monthly parent-teacher meeting give thumb impressions when their attendance is recorded. This set me thinking what I could do for them. We chose this day to start the venture as it is the birth anniversary of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. Besides, it was also a holiday,” the headmaster said.

Sinha said the six teachers would be divided into two groups. They would teach the parents for two hours every Sunday. “The teachers will take classes by rotation. Today, we got a good response from the parents,” he added.

Forty mothers and some grandmothers of students attended the class today. They were taught to write Bengali alphabets.

The school has 240 students. Only mothers and grandmothers attended the class as most of the men in the area work as labourers in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Yemen and south India.

“We gave exercise books and pens to those who attended the class today. Each teacher and school staff member contributed money to buy the items,” Sinha said.

According to the provisional report of the 2011 census, Murshidabad has a literacy rate of 67.53 per cent, which ranks it in the 15th place among Bengal’s 19 districts. The state has a literacy rate of 77.08 per cent.

The chairman of the district primary school council, Sagir Hossain, said: “I feel proud that the teachers of Andulia Primary School have taken such a novel initiative. I will help them in whatever way I can. They have set an example for other primary school teachers in the district.”

The district project officer of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, Debabrata Biswas, said he would visit the school on a Sunday to see how the teachers were tutoring the guardians.

“I want to project the school as a model institution. I will write to other primary schools and request them to follow the example of Andulia Primary School,” he said.

Panu Bibi, 30, the mother of Shefali Khatoon of Class IV, said: “Today, I attended school for the first time in my life.”