How will it work?
Nishi uses a unique andragogy that is highly effective. It is a method of self-education that builds on what people already know.
During the first lesson students learn to write a simple letter "KAKA TAKA CHAI" - "UNCLE WE NEED MONEY". They do this by finding the appropriate characters on familiar everyday objects. At the end of the first lesson people are able to write a sentence - in fact a useful letter as well as having learnt to write five characters. In subsequent lessons more characters are added in a similar way. By the seventh lesson, numbers are introduced. Often these have much greater importance to learners than letters as they start to be able to read prices and to bargain with traders. This process continues until all fifty letters of the Bangla alphabet, most of the one hundred and fifty combinations letters, together with the numbers have been learnt.
The first phase takes around three months. At the end of this, learners can write short sentences and perform basic arithmetic. Those who pass a test then proceed to phase two during which their vocabulary and arithmetic skills are developed further. They also write stories and songs, start a savings club and are visited by various extension officers. At the end of this phase learners are functionally and creatively literate and numerate and are tested to verify this. This usually takes a further three months. Thus functional literacy is attained in about six months as opposed to nine twelve months on most other schemes. Phase three is the post-literacy phase which lasts for a further six months. During this final phase groups usually evolve into study groups which continue long after the end of the course and which promote further self-development and entrepreneurship. Annex 2 of the evaluation report details the 30 topics which are integrated into the course.