Today in South Asia, everyone has a legal right to education. Despite this, the level of literacy among children and certain people groups still remains very low. Education systems in villages are particularly poor, if not non-existent. Good schools can be far away and expensive, thereby putting them out of reach for many South Asian families. There are also social reasons why certain people are excluded from education.
In response to this urgent need, Empart has started schools, education centres, literacy programmes and supervised homework clubs in South Asia. Improving literacy is an important first step towards community transformation. Such programmes also provide an opportunity to make contacts within the community and to share biblical values.
In recent years, the governments in different countries of South Asia have been under constant pressure from the international community to reform its educational system. Impart’s educational work takes pressure off the government, and as such is highly regarded by politicians, which in turn helps to build the credibility with Empart.
Early on, Empart workers, concerned by the poor levels of literacy in their regions, decided to set up schools. Many would open up their homes and personally teach the lessons. As interest and demand increased, many started to rent premises and hire teachers, and with Empart’s support, they were transitioned into respected institutions. These schools also facilitate the creation of meaningful relationships and provide many opportunities to share the gospel.
Education centres and literacy programmes
Education centres and literacy classes enable field workers to provide basic education to children and adults in a simple, low cost manner. They do not necessarily require a building or sophisticated tools. Education centres can be as simple as an open air class room with a white board under the shade of a nearby tree. The basics of reading, writing, mathematics and hygiene are taught.
Many field workers offer supervised homework in the evening, at home or in community meeting centres to help children with their homework. It’s a simple activity which is easy to replicate and provides church planters with another opportunity to build relationships and demonstrate the love of Christ. Given the somewhat intimate context, supervised homework clubs also provide the opportunity to understand the needs of the community better.