In Kota, a school for grandmas’ to fulfil their dream of getting education
Classes at Matri Gyan Kendra are held from 4.30-6.30 pm. The centre is a brainchild of Kota MP Om Birla and Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited.
Kalawati Bai wore a pink saree and carried her slate and chalk to school as she began her lessons formally.
Bai wants to fulfil her dream of getting an education and along with her friends, she can already write her name. They go to a government upper primary school but with a difference: The students here are all above 40 years of age.
Bai and her friends have enrolled at the Matri Gyan Kendra, a school for grandmothers’ in Kachnawada village in Sangod region of Rajasthan’s Kota district.
“I could not pursue an education in my childhood due to poverty and lack of awareness for education. But now when the authorities of Matri Gyan Kendra approached me, I decided to fulfil my childhood dream...” the 50-year-old said.
“I am studying so that I can learn to sign and write my name instead of giving thumb impression for drawing money from banks and also benefit from government schemes,” she added.
The Matri Gyan Kendra is a brainchild of the member of Parliament from Kota Om Birla and Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited (CFCL). The centre was officially launched on Monday evening.
“I conducted a survey of education among rural women and found that a large number of them were illiterate so we decided to start these kendras in the rural areas,” Birla said.
“... a literate woman can persuade the children in the family for literacy in a more effective manner so the education of elderly women is also necessary to ensure the goal of complete literacy in the society,” he said.
India’s literacy rate grew to 74% in the decade to 2011, according to the latest census, but female literacy continued to lag - about 65% of women were found to be literate, compared with 82% of men.
Experts say outdated attitudes toward women, including a preference for male children, and child marriages as the main reasons for the lower female literacy rate in India.
Birla said four more such centres will be opened in government schools in the district.
Their teacher Annu Kewat said the classes began two months ago and are held in the evening from 4.30pm to 6.30pm so that they don’t disturb the regular classes at the school.
CFCL’s corporate social responsibility manager Vikas Bhati said that the women will get a uniform, stationery, and other facilities from the company’s CSR fund.
Sixty-year-old Kranti Bai said her family members, including her children, have been to a school.
“I was the only one in the family without education so I hope to get educated through the centre.”
A similar school, Aajibaichi Shala, is run in Thane district of Maharashtra where the grannies learn to write, read and multiply in Marathi. The school was opened on March 8, 2016, Women’s Day.