The quivering wings of a butterfly can let loose a chain of events way bigger than anyone can imagine.
Scientists often cite this to explain how small actions lead to a great chain of events. And it perhaps best illustrates how a small band of teachers in Jamshedpur who teaches needy children, including dropouts, under what it calls Digital Literacy Mission (DLM), is making a big difference.
The Society for Promotional of Professional Excellence and Association of British Scholars hosted a workshop on Tuesday to give a platform to DLM’s unassuming founder, Mita Tarafder, also senior principal scientist at National Metallurgical Laboratory, and her group of tutors.
Called “DLM, the butterfly effect on India’s education system” and hosted at the Centre for Excellence, the meet saw the scientist explain her concept of free education for the poor before around 100 participants, mostly schoolteachers.
The audience listened to Tarafder intently on what made her brand of schooling tick with needy youngsters.
She pooh-poohed the idea that poor children weren’t interested in quality education. “The challenge is to make learning interesting for those who consider it boring. It reduces dropouts, too,” she said.
The scientist added how she was inspired by the mathematical concept of fractals.
For the layperson, a fractal is a pattern repeating itself. For Tarafder, it means replicating the model of success. So, the mission, which started with just 30 students last year in July, has 150 children now, both in Jamshedpur and Calcutta, and 20 tutors. And it works on the concept of 1-3-9 geometrical progression model. A facilitator fields three tutors who teach at least three students each and rope in two more facilitators for networking.
“As a scientist, I try to use mathematical concepts to solve social problems,” she said, adding that the model, with its expanding web of educators, can change India’s low human development index.
She added that she wanted DLM to be cutting edge. “I encourage tutors learn information and communication technologies to help coach their students. The DLM also has a website like Facebook, where each student, tutor and centre stay connected,” she said.
Association of British Scholars (Jamshedpur) president Anita Gupta said Tarafder’s model would help hundreds of poor children study. “We wanted more people to know her model of education. This butterfly effect creates a rainbow of learning,” she smiled.