Shakshar Bharat Mission Making Big Headway in Khamdong Block of Sikkim
The Adult Education under Shakshar Bharat Mission, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, is progressing smoothly in Khamdong Block under Khamdong-Singtam constituency in East Sikkim. The classes are being attended by members of the indigenous Lepcha tribal community, Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Classes.The Shakshar Bharat Mission was started by the Union Government in 2009 with an objective to further promote and strengthen adult education, especially among the women. The mission reaffirms the national commitment to literacy and was initiated at Khamdong Block in 2010 where 26 centres of adult education have been set up with nearly 400 students.
The scheme in Sikkim is supervised by the State Rural Management and Development Department and monitored by the Human Resource Development Department, Sikkim. The Department has appointed 28 teachers as Panchayat Education Assistant, out of which four are from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, for the Mission. The panchayat members are also engaged in proper implementation of this scheme with the panchayat ward under Singbel Gram Panchayat Unit (GPU) of Khamdong Block performing well.
The Thasa ward under Singbel GPU has three centres with nearly 100 beneficiaries, most of whom are small farmers and lumbermen living Below Poverty Line. The learners are from the age group of 25 to 80 years and the participation of women folk is also encouraging in these centres.
Female literacy is given special importance by the Shakshar Bharat Mission for social development and to empower the Indian woman in every field. At Khamdong, the centre is running from the rented premises in Gurung Gaon and starts every morning at 10 am and continues till 1 pm. The classes in Lingdong ICDS and Lingham ICDS centres are being run from 1 pm to 3 pm.
The learning materials have been designed and provided by the State Human Resource Development Department, Sikkim, as per the guidelines of the National Literacy Mission for Shakshar Bharat to literate and non-literate learner of Sikkim.
Speaking about her experience, Miss Januka Bhattarai, who has been deputed in the adult education centre at Thasa Ward under Singbel GPU said, “It’s difficult to teach adult than the children. Their memory power is almost less due to the old age but we are putting all our efforts to teach them as a result, now they are capable of writing their names, identifying alphabets and numbers. The beneficiaries those are availing education at the centers have forgotten to use thumb impression.”
Similarly, one of the beneficiaries Passingkit Lepcha, 41 years, said that she is availing the facility since its inception. The mother of three children, Mrs Lepcha is very much happy today as she can easily write her name today.
Sujata Lepcha, 25 years, who is a drop-out, is continuing her education in the centre and happy to be in the education centre. Mukhia Lepcha, 59 years, and Kami Lepcha, 77 years, recall their past saying that they couldn’t study due to poverty. “But we are lucky that we have got an opportunity to be literate in this age”, they said on a happy note.
*Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC