Kolkata: Over 198 literacy activists, all delegates of Bangiya Saksharata Prasar Samity (BSPS), the nodal organisation for literacy activism in the state, recently met in Purulia for their 11th conference at Purulia Vidyasagar Foundation residential school. The conference advocated the opening of multi-dimensional learning centres in places where traditional teaching methods do not reach.
Biman Basu, president, BSPS, advised the delegates to go deeper into their work, saying that the conference members must treat their work with utmost care.
In various regions in the state, BSPS is currently administering a unique study programme, osomoyer pathshala, targeted at children who haven't been able to return to schools since the COVID-19-induced lockdown was first announced in March 2020. Such pathshalas are being run in districts such as Kolkata, Burdwan South, 24 Parganas, etc.
In his address to the delegates, Basu said that these temporary settings must be made permanent so that multi-dimensional skill development programmes can be undertaken in such spaces.
Kashinath Chatterjee, president, All India Peoples Science Network, inaugurated the conference and asked the delegates to take Vidyasagar's ideals to the masses by investing their time and energy in setting up community learning centres. He also mentioned that the literacy movement in the country had started in Kerala's Ernakulam and West Bengal's Burdwan, and people from other regions learned from these movements.
Chatterjee also criticised the Central government for emphasising online classes in a country where most students can't afford mobile phones or have money to purchase mobile data. He said that India is facing severe challenges as in the last two years, many school-going students lost their academic years, with some dropping out of school entirely. He emphasised that the school dropout rate must be lessened, and at the same time, education for all should be implemented across the country.
Nabyendu Hota, acting president of BSPS, hoisted the organisation's flag at the conference. Anup Sarkar, the outgoing secretary, BSPS, put forward the organisation report.
The delegates raised five proposals at the conference, including stopping the fountainhead of illiteracy and ensuring school education for all.
Students from the Vidyasagar foundation of Purulia staged dance dramas and interacted with guests at the conference.
A 62 member state committee was constituted with Sarkar as general secretary and Basu as president of the organisation. Hota was re-elected as the acting president of the organisation. A 129 member state council was also constituted.