Until September this year, reading full sentences was a distant dream for 13-year-old Sundar Kumar who now feels himself to be fairly competent in reading.
Sundar is one of the several thousand students who had attended the Reading Campaign, an initiative by the Delhi government to turn non-readers into readers under its Chunauti scheme.
“I used to get confused while reading complex sentences but now I read out stories to my younger sister,” says the Class VI student at Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodya Vidhayalay, Lajpat Nagar.
After a baseline test conducted in Sundar’s school in September last week, he was selected in the non-reader Nishtha section. Here, he was not only given extra-coaching by the teachers in classrooms but was also taught by volunteers and teachers at the reading melas for six consecutive weekends.
On Friday, the results of its reading campaigns organised in all government-run schools in Delhi were presented to the state government by the Directorate of Education (DoE).
“The results of Delhi government’s reading campaign are found to really encouraging. It has been revealed that one lakh students have learnt to read advance stories in Hindi after the campaign,” said Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister Manish Sisodia.
The reading campaign was launched on September 5 this year on the occasion of Teacher’s Day to target the students of class VI to VII after a survey revealed that most students of Class VI in government-run schools were unable to read. The target was set to make them able to read Hindi fluently by November 14, Children’s Day.
“As per the baseline assessment, earlier, only 25 per cent children in Class VI could read an advanced story but now it is 46 per cent. Similarly, only 52 per cent children in class VII could read an advanced story, now it has risen to 64 per cent and in class VIII the percentage of students who can read advanced stories has gone up from from 55 per cent to 68 per cent,” Sisodia said.
The target of these reading campaigns was that by Children’s Day students of Class VI should be able to read Hindi fluently,” he added.
According to the government, out of total 6,323,70 students enrolled in class VI and VII in government-run schools, the campaign focussed on 3,59,152 i.e. 57 per cent of the total enrolled children.
The Delhi government’s reading melas have proved to be a hit among students as well as parents. Several parents, who also attended the melas, claimed to have learned reading and writing basic sentences.
“Earlier, I couldn’t read or write but after being taught by the volunteers at the reading melas, I can now sign instead of putting thumb prints,” says Sunita Kumari, a resident of Lajpat Nagar.