Making Students Computer Savvy

Making Students Computer Savvy

  • Education
  • By Syed Mobashshir Danish & Mahika Banerji
  • 18 Feb, 2022

“Computers are vital in this day and age, but it was very unfortunate that many of my students did not have basic knowledge of computers. I was very concerned about computer literacy among my students,” says Ram Naresh, the headmaster at Indaut School in Bihar’s Nalanda district.

“Now, I am very happy that the Oxfam India team has not only installed computers in my school but have also helped with tutors and course books,” he adds.

The COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools across the country, compromising the education of millions of children, especially the most marginalised, in India. According to Oxfam India’s briefing Inequality Kills only 15% of children from rural India had access to the internet and could continue their education online. The data also revealed that only 4% of children from the Dalit and Adivasi communities in rural India were able to access online classes.

The Holistic Rural Development Project, an Oxfam India-HDFC project, works towards improving education by strengthening School Management Committees (SMCs) and Children’s Parliaments (Bal Sansads). The project undertakes many initiatives such as conducting student awareness sessions, renovating and refurbishing schools and anganwadi centres, installing libraries, installing and supporting Smart Classes in government schools.

Such initiatives to strengthen access to education help in observing the state of the education system in rural communities and consistently work towards the betterment of this system. Through the project we have renovated drinking water stations, toilets, and floor in three schools—Middle School in Indaut Village (Hilsa block), Middle School in Rampur Village (Nagarnausa block) and the Senior Secondary School in Amar Village (Harnaut). This was done in March 2021. 

It was during one of these sessions that Oxfam India team learned that access to online classes was hampered due to a lack of digital literacy skills, and there was no one (including teachers and parents) to guide students with computer skills.

The team conducted sessions on educating students on how to access online learning platforms such as e-LOTS (e-Library Of Teachers and Students), a library app developed by the Bihar government in collaboration with UNICEF to continue with studies during lockdowns. But these sessions weren’t enough and more needed to be done.

Oxfam India-HDFC stepped in with the installation of Smart Classes/Digital Learning Lab. Under this initiative, computers were installed to make government schools more computer-savvy; these were installed in three schools—Middle School in Indaut Village (Hilsa block), Middle School in Rampur Village (Nagarnausa block) and the Senior Secondary School in Amar Village (Harnaut)—in Nalanda District.

Each Smart Class has six computers powered with solar energy. Computer teachers from local computer coaching centers were hired to train students and teacher; the trainers undertook a 52-hour course that were designed by the NIIT Foundation. The trainings started in January 2022.

The Smart Classes have invoked an interest among students by introducing them to real-time e-learning with the help of audio-visual tools, online web conferences and powerpoint presentations. This will help students continue their digital education where they can easily access information from a variety of digital platforms. A total of 1649 (868 girls and 781 boys) students will benefit from  these Smart Classes.

The teacher and student community in Rampur, Indaut and Amar are happy and very grateful. The students are excited to learn new things and are already looking forward to a bright future. Nandini Kumari, a class ninth student from Indaut, says,  “Learning computer skills can help us get jobs in the future. When I grow up, I look forward to going to office with a bag in one hand and a computer in the other.”

📢Oxfam India is now on Telegram. Click here to join our Telegram channel and stay tuned to the latest updates and insights on social and development issues. 


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