Small Grants & Ambassador’s Fund Program & Shakarganj Foundation
Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rates in the world, and the lowest among countries of comparative resources and socio-economic conditions. According to Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan the overall literacy rate in the country is 46 per cent, with female literacy of 26 per cent only. Independent sources and educational experts, however, are skeptical. They place the overall literacy rate at 26 per cent and the female literacy at 12 per cent, contending that the higher figures also include those people who can hardly write anything beyond their signature.
Jhang is a District of Punjab province with a population of 1.869 million (est. 2.293 million populations in 2010). It has three tehsils Jhang, Shorkot and Ahmed Pur Sial in its revenue limits and 84 Union Councils (UCs). Almost 70% of the population is involved in agriculture. Adult literacy rate of District Jhang for age group 15+ years is 47%.
With the assistance of USAID under its Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program Shakarganj Foundation is endeavoring to eradicate illiteracy in the rural areas to promote education in less privileged areas of District Jhang. Under the same spirit, Shakarganj Foundation has started to carry out “Adult Female Literacy Program” in 05 UCs of District Jhang. These UCs have never been focused under any Literacy Program before. Total population of these 05 UCs is around 90,185 with approx. 13,600 households (HHs). Female population of these UCs is about 43,200 (48%). Literacy rate in these UCs is much lesser than the District average of 47%. UC wise literacy ratios are obtained from District Statistics Department, Jhang.
The total target population for the proposed “Adult Female Literacy Program” would be 14,703 women from 05 UC’s. Shakarganj Foundation plans to reach out to 3,750 women from the target group through USAID funding. Remaining 10,953 women would be covered from its core funding in coming years.
Informal meetings conducted with teachers/ headmistresses of adopted schools, notable persons, women of the proposed UCs, to assess community education needs and have come up with a list of 200 centers from 15 villages in 05 UC’s. Availability of teachers in these UCs was also assessed and found satisfactory.
This project would enable 3,750 women to read newspaper, utility bills, write letters and supervise the home work of their kids studying at initial stage of schooling/ education. These skills will boost their confidence level and enable them to further supplement their knowledge according to their interest level. Educated mothers build an educated nation this is the motive of the project.
Important elements of project design:
Some adults can learn to read and write quickly with little trouble while others, because of learning disabilities, find this task very difficult. Adults often have responsibilities that take precedence over study, therefore in the proposed project there will be two hours’ daily class and total duration of the course will be three months. The course will be of total 156 hours i.e. 02 hours per day, 6 days a week for 3 months. The teacher may extend class timings during the course considering performance of the learners.
“Jugnoo Sabaq” which is a comprehensive set of 4 books for a unique literacy programme. The series includes modern phonetic teaching methods, Keyword arrangement with the use of small letters, making it easy to understand and interesting. Keeping in view the historical multilingual background of Pakistan these books are designed for Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Barahvi, Hindko and Persian speaking people. The proposed material has been developed by a team of educational psychologists of “New Century Education ”. It is a well-designed and field tested material being used by UNICEF, NCHD, SEF, Action Aid and Agha Khan Educational Service for such programs.
Total 25 learners with mix age groups (15-49 years) enrolled for a three months duration adult literacy course at each center. An adult literacy center will be established/ run in an area where required numbers of illiterates are available and willing to learn. These centers will preferably be established at our adopted Government Primary/ Elementary Schools. At locations where the organization has not yet adopted any school, communities will provide free of cost space for this purpose as their contribution towards the project. This would further strengthen community ownership in the project.
Local female teachers will be hired, preferably present school teachers of that school/ area. Minimum qualification required will be a bachelor’s degree. This criterion can be relaxed in exceptional cases and teachers with even FA/ FSc. degree can also be considered. The teacher will be responsible to take attendance, maintain learners’ record, teach them and take tests on weekly basis. Teachers will be equipped with required teaching tools & material including the teacher's guide book.
These teachers will be provided two days training by “New Century Education (NCE)” Lahore team on teaching methodologies and use of proposed teaching and learning material. NCE has already shown its consent in providing resource persons who will visit the project area to train the teachers at their respective locations. In case any teacher leaves the program during three months course, the replacement teachers will be trained by NCE at their training center in Lahore.
Only those learners will be selected who are motivated to complete a literacy course. Experience shows that as literacy class participants begin to acquire reading and writing skills, their confidence and motivation increases. Participatory approach will be used to ensure active engagement of learners. Moreover the behavior of a teacher towards his or her participants can affect success rate and drop-out rate so the organization will assure respectful behavior of the teacher towards the participants by carefully selecting teachers, sensitizing them about the type of students and monitoring their activities by observing them in class. After successful completion of three months literacy course, certificates will be awarded to only those learners whose attendance in the class has remained 75% or more. This fact would be shared with all learners at the start of each course. To ensure regular attendance, an incentive of PKR 500 each (at the end of the course) will also be given to those learners whose attendance in the class has remained more than 90% during the three months course. Moreover, cash prizes of PKR 1,000 each would be given at the end of each course to the top three position holders of final test.
The proposed project will be implemented in three cycles (3 months each). In each cycle there will be 50 adult literacy centers established in the identified UC’s, whereby three months course will be conducted. 1,188 (95%) of total 1,250 females are expected to complete the course in each cycle.
Monitoring of project intervention will be carried out at various levels;
The objectives of the proposed project/activity are as follows:
3,750 women from 05 union councils of District Jhang
Period of the project (December 1, 2012 to October 31, 2013)