A test under the basic literacy programme was administered at nearly 190 centres in this district to motivate people over the age of 15 to read.
The district is one of the six in Punjab where the test was conducted on Sunday. Only those districts were selected where the female literacy rate was less than 50% in Census 2001. "We enrolled nearly 7,200 candidates for the test," said Jaskewal Singh Golewalaia, district co-coordinator of the programme, "and brought 5,200 to the examination."
In the test conducted only in villages, the participation of all age groups was healthy. After the basic literacy programme, candidates enter a bridge course. The attraction of certificates and incentives also brings ineligible candidates to the examination.
Only people older than 15 who have the ability to read, write and understand, or people who dropped out of school before class 5 are free to take a shot at the test. Because no age proof was required, the staff on duty even had to let in many who looked younger but said they were older.
"We asked some students to leave the centre when we came to know their real age and qualifications," said a teacher administering the test.