Scripting a success story

Jan Sikshan Sanstha brings cheer to the poor by spreading literacy and upgrading their vocational skillsHardnews Bureau Delhi“I never thought I would be earning so much and that I would lead such a better life,” says Susheela, from Hyderabad. She was in Dilli Haat to sell stuff made by people of Jan Sikshan Sansthan (JSS), an adult literacy programme run by the Department of School and Education and Literacy (DoSEL) of Government of India (GoI). There are 172 JSS all over the country.Susheela could not read and write, not even spell her name. It was in Jan Sikshan Sansthan (JSS) that she learnt the three R’s. At first, she was trained to make papad, pickles, incense sticks, bags, file covers and dolls. She was not content to remain at that. She stretched herself to upgrade her learning skills, and she is now an instructor, who teaches girls and other women like her.The multi-faceted adult education programme is aimed at improving the vocational skill and quality of life of workers and their family members. The programme has evolved to respond to the educational and vocational training needs of numerous groups of adult and young people living in urban and industrial areas, and for persons who had have been migrated from rural to urban settings. These JSS help district-level resource support agencies, especially with regard to organisation of vocational training and skill development programmes for the neo-literates, and other target groups of the continuing education scheme.  Hitherto JSS was restricted to urban, semi-urban and industrial areas. The area of operation has been now extended to the entire district, including rural areas. As per the revised guidelines issued by GoI, at least 25 per cent of the beneficiaries of JSS should be neo-literates. To extend a helping hand by marketing the goods produced at all JSS’, DoSEL had organised a five-day exhibition-cum-sale at Dilli Haat. Kriti, the mela which started on November 10 aims at popularising cottage industry goods. Vandana  Kumari Jena, Joint Secretary of Department of Adult Education, says, “The products that are made at all the JSS are not marketed well and hence they do not get the deserving price. What Kriti aspires is to market these stuff and make the JSS members aware of their market value.”  Dr Ganeshor Saharia, a beaming representative of Guwahati JSS, says, “Many of the goods that we had brought are sold at a good price. We did not expect a higher price. Our lone concern was that these people should get their due.”Jena confirms that if the exhibition-cum-sale succeeds, then the ministry would get two stalls in Dilli Haat for the JSS on a permanent basis. JSS’ from different parts of the country will get their turn on a rotation basis.Terracotta pots, Madhubani paintings, jute bags, woven bags, coconut shell cups, bamboo caps were some of the goods that sold well at the mela.S Ghosh, of JSS Purulia, West Bengal, says, “People are buying our products. We are very happy at the initiative the government has taken.”Jena adds that Kriti will showcase the developmental work that has been happening at the grassroots level, which many, including those in the top echelons of government, are not aware of. She feels that people working at the grassroots level will get a chance to see for themselves how things work in the national capital, and where they stand. She is keen that JSS should spread its good work in Sikkim, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh where it is yet to make its presence.