TAKING LIGHT TO AN AREA OF DARKNESS

The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) has granted recognition to PIDT Lokshala for conducting its ‘A’ (class III), ‘B’ (class V) and ‘C’ (class VIII) level examinations. PIDT not only sets papers and conducts examinations, but also distributes teaching-learning materials to the students in the presence of their parents and teachers to make them aware of the exam’s importance and to help integrate them in the exam preparation process. In conjunction with this, some enterprising youth, mostly erstwhile instructors and supervisors of the government’s Non-Formal Education program, have started coaching centres. PIDT’s Village Education and Development Committees oversee the payment of a Rs. 10 per month honorarium by the children’s parents to the teachers of these centres. More than 30 centres are running successfully in this manner.

Mr. Mohammad Shahid runs a tuition centre in Kansjore village, near PIDT Lokshala. The village has a predominantly Muslim population which accounts for sixty per cent of the total. A young man of about 22, Mr. Shahid has recently completed his graduation and is preparing for his M.A. examination. His centre caters to the needs of about 50 children and is run in the afternoon for three hours every day. Lessons are given to children from class I to V. Although all the children sit in the same kutcha (natural) structure, they receive separate lessons. Slates and books are provided by PIDT.

The parents of each child are supposed to pay Mr. Shahid Rs. 10, but in some cases they fail to do so due to their poverty or, sometimes, their unwillingness. It is an unwritten law of the village that everybody is everyone else’s uncle-auntie or nephew-niece, religious differences notwithstanding. As Mr. Shahid cares about the education of all his children, he does not mind as long as most of the parents pay. Whatever Mr. Shahid earns through his hard work he uses for his own higher education to further his prospects in life. Back