Midlife education: Women beating illiteracy

Due to the social misunderstanding that education for girls is not important, many females may have missed school than their male counterparts.

[Views:2592 ][Comments:45]

ASMITA MANANDHAR
Inside a small room, around ten to twelve women sit encircling three low tables and are busy writing on their notebooks in silence. A woman at the corner takes a chart of Nepali alphabets and sticks it on a white board. She then picks a long ruler from the table and points at another woman across the room and says in a strong voice, “Tara, your turn.”

Tara Tamang, a 42-year-old businesswoman, shifts towards the whiteboard before she starts chanting the alphabets, “Aa bata Anara.” The other women in the room follow her in loud voice. Sheela Basnet, the teacher, encourages the women to increase the volume of their pitch. “Let me know that you had your lunch,” she says. The room echoes with the chanting of Nepali alphabets as if these grown women are practicing nursery rhymes.

They are indeed practicing nursery rhymes. The informal class at Nari Ghar, a small non-governmental organization located at Kuleshwor, includes women from age 16 to 60 years who gather everyday at 5pm to learn to read and write.

“We never had the chance to be educated when we were young,” says Tara who grew up in her village at Dapcha, Kavre. The third child among eight siblings, Tara claims that her parents could have afforded her schooling if they had intended to. “They could’ve sent us to school. But back then, people thought that only boys needed education. We girls were obliged to do household chores instead,” she says.

Tara’s cousins Gyani Maya and Chini Maya also have the same story to share. “I looked after my siblings since I was old enough to carry them. Chini Maya did the same,” says Gyani Maya. Daughters of a former Indian Army soldier, they say their father was never concerned about their education.“There was a teacher who took me to the nearby school but my mother brought us back home immediately,” recalls Gyani Maya.

But more than her education, Gyani Maya regrets that none of her male siblings showed interest in education. “Though the boys had the opportunity, they weren’t able to achieve much. At the most, one brother works as a driver,” she says.

These women, however, are adamant that they will learn to read and write. “I’m tired of depending on others even for petty things. I’ve failed many times in life solely because I was uneducated,” says bitter Tara.

The women say that people in the society tend to look at illiterates in demeaning ways. “Even your family members will start to make fun of you and take you as a burden if you don’t know how to accomplish your tasks in this time and age,” says Gyani Maya.

From dialing numbers and organizing their contacts in their mobile phones, looking for various OPD rooms at hospitals and dealing with creditors, these women have learnt the importance of education the hard way.

“I owned a small grocery store but I couldn’t run it well as I couldn’t keep track of my financial records. People took things from me on credit but without proper documentation, I couldn’t remember the amount of money they owed me,” says Tara.

While women like Tara and Gyani Maya are attending these informal education classes to beat their illiteracy and make their lives easier, the eldest in the class, Hem Kumari Baniya, says that she has been attending these classes only to fulfill her wish to be literate.The story of this sixty-year-old is not very different from that of the Tamang sisters. She says that she spent her lifetime in the kitchen.

“I was always curious to learn to read and write but I couldn’t find such opportunity anytime in my life. It wasn’t my family’s priority to educate me and subsequently never became mine, either,” she says.

But now, she has put her feet down and is resolute about her decision to learn regardless of her age.

“Apart from the learning to read and write, being able to meet other women of similar interests is also a motivation for them,” says Laxmi Dhungel who coordinates the classes and looks after the organization. “This class was started solely through word-to-mouth communication. After the first batch of ladies completed the course, other women demanded for more classes and we started off with the second batch,” she adds.

Inside the crammed classroom, women encourage each other to learn. When a shy Chini Maya declines to chant alphabets as she claims that she is not prepared well, all the other women convince her that they will help her if the alphabets gets difficult to pronounce.

“You’ll never learn if you don’t ask questions,” says Tara for whom this is not the first informal class that she has attended. Three years back, she had attended a similar class which was supervised by government curriculum and funding. But she did not complete the course as she was not satisfied with how the instructors carried on with the classes. “The government education was very primitive and unsatisfactory,” she says.

The Government of Nepal launched its National Literacy Campaign in 2011 which aims to make literate men and women of 15 to 60 years of age who had been deprived of education. According to the government module, there are two types of courses: literacy and post-literacy. Each of three months, the literacy course caters to those people who are unable to read and write at all. The post-literacy course is for those who know the basic alphabets and numbers.

Buddhi Bhatta, Technical Assistant at the Informal Education Division of the District Education Office in Kathmandu, says that they have been aware of the problems.“First, the instructors in the informal education classes are underpaid (Rs 300 for three months). So we can’t demand performance from them according to our expectations,” he says.

The other problem with the government classes is the unrevised curriculum. “The curriculum does not address the necessity of changing times. These informal education classes should have at least made people’s access to different gadgets easier but that hasn’t happened,” he says, adding that they have recommended a revised course and most probably they will finalize it for the next session.

Dhungel of Nari Ghar also says that they are soon commencing English and mathematics classes for the first batch of women. “In their age, they need education to carry out basic trending functions like mobile phones. So they want to learn numbers and English alphabets as well,” she says.

At Nari Ghar, like its name suggests, it only caters to enthusiastic women for the informal classes. But unlike the non-governmental organization, the government-run informal classes are open to both males and females. However, most participants in these classes are also female.

According to Bhatta, about 90-95% females while only 5-10 % males have been attending the informal education classes. He points out many factors behind it.“Due to the social misunderstanding that education for girls is not important, many females may have missed school than their male counterparts. And even for illiterate men, they find it difficult to find time for the classes as they are supposed to be the key breadwinners in the families.”

But as the old saying goes, “where there is a will, there is a way,” these women at Nari Ghar have found their way out of illiteracy. As they leave the classroom, they discuss as to how they can set up small businesses at home. It seems that inside their small plastic bags in which they carry their books, notebooks, pencils and other stationeries, these women also carry bigger dreams and aspirations.

source: Manandhar, Asmita (2013),"Midlife education: Women beating illiteracy", republica,17 May 2013
photo courtesy:Keshab Thoker

2013-05-17 | EducateNepal

POPULAR JOBS

1. Jobs at Bank and Financial Institutions in Nepal

2. Jobs at NGOs, INGOs, Development Sector in Nepal

3. Jobs at Airline,Tourism, Hospitality Industry in Nepal

4. List of Government jobs in Nepal


Recommendations
COMMENTS
Have your Say

When I completed my higher education, I realized that I should share my success with the essay writer that I got on poweredessays.com, as he helped me to complete my research paper on time, and score higher grades.

  • Terry

I first visited this site quickly complete my assignments I study hard, complete my assignments and assignment writing in order to achieve good grades, so after college to find good jobs will not be difficult.

  • Chris Joan

It all seems to point to the same starting point doesn't it, whatever situation you are in? Impartial, objective education designed for women.dissertation help uk

  • Janae

Nice one. Keep it up. youtube subscribers

  • Wrong

I am searching for all news from all over the world and want to get all breaking news english on my mobile phone. For that purpose i found amazing stuff through internet and got positive results.

  • breaking news english

That is terrible how this can be happen if you thought so why is just why :'( |Dissertation Proposal UK|

  • William J Foote

The Taliban probably fear the destruction of their poppy fields even more than educated women.need help in accounting assignment

  • Avalon

Superb! What an amazing testimony. Thank you for being open and vulnerable! pay for dissertation now || do my assignment for me

  • MichaelRogers

This is the greatest post. I'm going to write a blog post on this subject. Do my research paper :: research proposal help

  • PaulWalker

thanks to share web design

  • jock

I think education is a key way to change perceptions of women's work and opportunities. Education and careers, and affected their safety. But less than a year after its opening, 900 women have enrolled on courses at a vocational training centre for women in Helmand province.do my essay | essay mall uk

  • Alecia

well i guess, when your living in that kinda age school or college work its kinda sounds tough and if you need good grads you got to be prepare your assignments properly and finish it with highly professionally which will not possible with out any help, here are the guys where you can ask can you do my assignment for me? they will definitely give best work :)

  • Paulette Dodson

This content information is very useful to develop our knowledge also. Thank you for taking the time to discuss this topic, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic.buy assignments help

  • Alice Scarlet

Great read. Its really very informative thanks for sharing such a good idea.Online Electronic Store.

  • Jim

I would highly recommend you guys to go with Adam's theory, then you will have. Coursework Writers

  • Paulette Dodson

Great and very informative article with good research work about education. i like it. accounting writing service

  • SteveMorvin

It is not necessary that every time you come up with something new and it always work.c programming assignment help

  • EmilyWhitehead

Individuals get irritated by perpetual tips asking them to (favorably) rate your application. If you want even more application shop assessments and 4/5 superstar individual scores. buy android app reviews

  • arjunhaha

Education is a rewarding career for many people who enter it at midlife. Professionals will often become teachers as a second career so they law dissertation writing at dissertationcorp.co.uk

  • Rachelle Scott

I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updates. sb game hacker apk

  • Kivas

The trend has been to shift from standard literacy, in which programes were limited to teaching students the basics of reading, writing and computing, to a literacy of social integration of beneficiaries in their environment. do my homework

  • Morgan

I found this post very exciting. I think you will have any other post on this topic? I am also sending it to my friend to enjoy your working style. Cheers! aanrechtblad

  • aanrechtblad

nice post goole

  • aliza

I read this post its very helpful and thanks too you for publish this post.|assignment writing services

  • sab alex

Sometimes it is very hard to find good content on this topic. But your blog is my way to desired information, my problem is solved now. Thanks for posting something worth reading. http://byebra.ie/buy-fashion-tapes/

  • buy fashion tape

What you have said is absolutely right. iPhone 7 plus price and specs

  • Maria

This is definitely a great written article. iPhone 7 release date

  • Jen

I found this post very exciting. I think you will have any other post on this topic? I am also sending it to my friend to enjoy your working style. Cheers! buy assignment

  • sabalex

Very Nice.http://www.naturalproductsinfo.net/generic-viagra.html

  • mike

Thanks for excellent blog.I'm happy to find useful blog share in my friends. THANK YOU

  • Redding DMV

Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Help Quickbooks Support Quickbooks Support Number Quickbooks Support Phone Number Quickbooks Tech Support Number Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number Quickbooks Technical Support Number Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Support Number Quickbooks Customer Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Service Number Quickbooks Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Help Quickbooks Support Quickbooks Support Number Quickbooks Support Phone Number Quickbooks Tech Support Number Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number Quickbooks Technical Support Number Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Support Number Quickbooks Customer Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Service Number Quickbooks Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Help Quicken Support Quicken Support Number Quicken Support Phone Number Quicken Tech Support Number Quicken Tech Support Phone Number Quicken Technical Support Number Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Customer Support Number Quicken Customer Service Number Quicken Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Help Quicken Support Quicken Support Number Quicken Support Phone Number Quicken Tech Support Number Quicken Tech Support Phone Number Quicken Technical Support Number Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Customer Support Number Quicken Customer Service Number Quicken Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Help Quicken Support Quicken Support Number Quicken Support Phone Number Quicken Tech Support Number Quicken Tech Support Phone Number Quicken Technical Support Number Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Customer Support Number Quicken Customer Service Number Quicken Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Sage Technical Support Phone Number Sage Help Sage Support Sage Support Number Sage Support Phone Number Sage Tech Support Number Sage Tech Support Phone Number Sage Technical Support Number Sage Technical Support Phone Number Sage Customer Support Number Sage Customer Support Phone Number Sage Customer Service Number Sage Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Sage Technical Support Phone Number Sage Help Sage Support Sage Support Number Sage Support Phone Number Sage Tech Support Number Sage Tech Support Phone Number Sage Technical Support Number Sage Technical Support Phone Number Sage Customer Support Number Sage Customer Support Phone Number Sage Customer Service Number Sage Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Sage Technical Support Phone Number Sage Help Sage Support Sage Support Number Sage Support Phone Number Sage Tech Support Number Sage Tech Support Phone Number Sage Technical Support Number Sage Technical Support Phone Number Sage Customer Support Number Sage Customer Support Phone Number Sage Customer Service Number Sage Customer Service Phone Number

  • Anjilo smith

Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Help Quickbooks Support Quickbooks Support Number Quickbooks Support Phone Number Quickbooks Tech Support Number Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number Quickbooks Technical Support Number Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Support Number Quickbooks Customer Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Service Number Quickbooks Customer Service Phone Number

  • Allikes Jerry

Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Help Quickbooks Support Quickbooks Support Number Quickbooks Support Phone Number Quickbooks Tech Support Number Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number Quickbooks Technical Support Number Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Support Number Quickbooks Customer Support Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Service Number Quickbooks Customer Service Phone Number

  • Allikes Jerry

Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Help Quicken Support Quicken Support Number Quicken Support Phone Number Quicken Tech Support Number Quicken Tech Support Phone Number Quicken Technical Support Number Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Customer Support Number Quicken Customer Support Phone Number Quicken Customer Service Number Quicken Customer Service Phone Number

  • Allikes Jerry

Sage Help Sage Support Number Sage Support Phone Number Sage Tech Support Number Sage Technical Support Number Sage Tech Support Phone Number Sage Technical Support Phone Number Sage Helpdesk Phone Number Sage Customer Service Phone Number Sage Customer Service Number Sage Customer Support Number Peachtree Support Phone Number Peachtree Tech Support Number Peachtree Technical Support Number Peachtree Tech Support Phone Number Peachtree Technical Support Phone Number

  • Allikes Jerry

Quicken Help Quicken Support Number Quicken Support Phone Number Quicken Tech Support Number Quicken Technical Support Number Quicken Tech Support Phone Number Quicken Technical Support Phone Number Quicken Helpdesk Phone Number Quicken Customer Service Phone Number Quicken Customer Service Number Quicken Customer Support Number

  • Allikes Jerry

Quickbooks Help Quickbooks Support Number Quickbooks Support Phone Number Quickbooks Tech Support Number Quickbooks Technical Support Number Quickbooks Tech Support Phone Number Quickbooks Technical Support Phone Number Quickbooks Helpdesk Phone Number Quikcbooks Customer Service Phone Number Quickbooks Customer Service Number Quickbooks Customer Support Number

  • Allikes Jerry

Packers and Movers Packers and Movers New York Packers and Movers in New York Movers and packers New York Movers and packers in New York New York Movers and Packers

  • Allikes Jerry

HAVE YOUR SAY

*NAME
*EMAIL
LOCATION
In order to help us prevent automated submissions, please type the number shown in below picture
*Validation no.
captcha

* Required

Would you like to advertise here?
DAV
Air
Kings
TU
Connect with us