Nilambur in Malappuram district of Kerala is all set to become the first village in the country where all would be Class 4-literate. Some of the credit would go to the ace filmmaker Aryadan Shoukat. According to him, 1,500 residents of that village in the age group 15-50 have not passed Class 4 and of them 900 were illiterate.
The Kerala State Literacy Mission has organized the Jyothirgamaya programme at the village. This programme is concerned with the spread of non-formal education, these people are being taught so that they attain education up to Class 4.
"I first found out that many in my village can't even sign and felt that I should do my best to see that something is done. I got in touch with the literacy mission officials who said that this could be done. And that is how this programme was launched," Shoukat, also president of the Nilambur Grama Panchayath, told reporters here Friday.
The literacy mission conducted a survey in January and found out that of the nearly 39,000 population, around 1,500 had not passed Class 4.
"We identified 142 study centres and 300 teachers who were willing to cooperate for free to educate the identified students. The classes began in March this year," said Shoukat.
Classes are held at the centres for two hours between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. everyday where the students are taught math, English, Malayalam and environment studies.
"We have decided to have an examination in November. As per rules we are unable to make students above age 50 take the examination. However, many of them do attend the classes," said Konni Gopakumar director of the literacy mission.
The state literacy mission is now planning to replicate this programme in three other villages in the state.
"Once we finish the examination we plan to start the next phase, which is for Class 7. All those who are interested can participate," said Shoukat, who is the son of top Congress legislator Aryadan Mohammed.