Breaking linguistic barriers – CGPL initiative boosts literacy levels

untitledLack of quality education has been a major issue in the rural regions. Despite high enrolment rates, the learning improvement in children continues to be limited. To reinforce the quality education in the region, CGPL, along with its education partner Pratham Education Foundation, has been implementing The Shiksha Saarthi programme since 2012.

CGPL realises that education is not limited to passing from one grade to the other. CGPL has been focussing immensely on diversifying the existing skill sets of people and helps them to self-learn. CGPL also believes that education should reach people beyond geographical and language-related barriers and is working actively to ensure the same. Educating people using regional dialects has been a major challenge in Kutch as not many people can speak Gujarati. CGPL saw this challenge as an opportunity.

In one such instance, during a six-day science workshop conducted by Dhara Maheta, a Vigyan Mitra under the Shiksha Saarthi program , she met Ashwin Govindbhai Maheshwari in Mota Asambiya, a village in Mandvi Taluka in Kutch Distric. Ashwin was studying in grade six. His parents, Govindbhai Maheshwari and Premilaben Maheshwari, were illiterate and but they conversed only in Kutchi which is ttheir mother tongue. Ashwin was the youngest of four children in his family and out of them, only one sister was studying in grade eight at the time.

Initially, Ashwin was observed to be highly disinterested in the activities conducted during the workshop. However, this was the least of their worries as he was even causing trouble to other members with his behaviour and indiscipline. Ashwin’s behaviour made it necessary to dig deeper into the root cause of his problem.

One day during break time, his mother was asked the reason for his behaviour and whether he can understand activities of the workshop and what were the difficulties faced by him. The reason he wasn’t taking any interest was because he could understand Kutchi and nothing else, she said.

After this revelation, whatever Dhara Maheta taught in Gujarati, she translated it in Kutchi as well. She observed that Ashwin started to answer questions and was actively taking part in all activities. Interestingly, his group members enthusiastically translated all activities in Kutchi for Ashwin.

Ashwin’s story is one of the many such success stories that take place in rural Gujarat. CGPL’s intervention has made it easier for children like Ashwin to get better sense of subjects through local dialects and this has had a direct impact on boosting literacy levels.

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