functional literacy (CBFL) programme uses animated graphics
and a voiceover to explain how individual alphabets combine
to give structure and meaning to various words.
from education material developed by the National Literacy
Mission, the CBFL method employs puppets as the motif in the
teaching process. The lessons, tailored to fit different languages
and even dialects, focus on reading, and are based on the
theories of cognition, language and communication.
emphasis on learning words rather than alphabets, the project
addresses thought processes with the objective of teaching
these words in as short a time span as possible.
The settings for the lessons are visually stimulating and
crafted in a manner that learners can easily relate to (the
puppet-show idiom). The accompanying voiceover reinforces
the learner's ability to grasp the lessons easily, and repetition
adds to the strengthening of what is learned.
is implemented by using computers, which deliver the lessons
('shows') in multimedia form to the learners. Supplementing
computers in this process are reference textbooks of the National
experiment for the CBFL programme was conducted in Beeramguda
village in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh in February 2000.
This was followed by an extended trial run in 80 centres spread
across the districts of Medak, Guntur, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.
The initial experiment and the trial run highlighted the following
advantages of the project:
in the pace of 'learning to read' (it takes about one-third
of the time that writing-oriented methods require).
in adjusting to individual learning speeds.
dropout rates in comparison with other adult literacy programmes.
not require trained teachers or large-scale infrastructure.
be conducted on low-end computers (these are the kind of
machines that many organisations can afford to give away).
effectively enhance existing adult-literacy programmes.
multimedia format ensures that the pronounication of the
words/letters is taught accurately through the system, rather
than being left to individual teachers. This is particularly
useful for languages like Tamil, where the same letter can
be pronounced differently (based on the context).
student to teacher
Each centre under the project has a computer and an instructor,
or prerak, as they are called, to conduct a class.
A typical class has between 15 and 20 people and is held in
the evening hours.
early days of the programme, most of the instructors were
retired teachers or people involved with the adult-literacy
movement in the state. While the teachers and others continue
to help out, many of the classes are now conducted by those
made literate by the project.