Nineteen-year-old Bablu (19), a farmer’s son in East Singhbhum’s Musabani, is making the transition from a plough to a USB port.
Even a few months back, Bablu, the eldest of three sons of Maheshwari Murmu, couldn’t have dreamt of being a computer professional. But now, the rural teenager is hardwired to hardware.
Two years ago, Palu, now 21, stopped studies after her intermediate in arts from Ghatshila College. Farmer Kailash Sahu’s daughter and a resident of Edelbera in Ghatshila subdivision, she knew an IA was her limit. Now, she is redrawing horizons with hardware.
These are just two of 86 scheduled caste and scheduled tribe (SC/ST) youths from 18 Kolhan villages undergoing the 18-month hardware networking engineering course in Jamshedpur to get good jobs. While the TCS is funding 46 students, TSRDS is sponsoring 40 others. Thanks to corporate sponsorship, the 86 youths are like kids at a candy store — they can’t believe their luck.
The 40 students sponsored by TSRDS joined their course on Friday on Tribal Cultural Centre campus, Sonari. Bablu and Palu, among the ones sponsored by TCS, are the early birds. One-third of their course is over as they started in March.
The 18-month course, certified by Indian Institute of Hardware Technology (IIHT), would have cost in normal circumstances, Rs 28,000 per student, but it is totally free of cost here. Classes that are three hours long are held five days a week in the mornings at the day centre.
“This is a project under Tata Steel’s affirmative action programme. We handpicked underprivileged tribal students who despite potential would have been unable to pursue anything resembling a hardware course,” said honorary secretary of TCS Urmila Ekka.
“We just wanted to devise a way to make SC and ST youths not just employed but well employed. After completion of the course we will provide three months on-the-job training and then place them in jobs,” said director IIHT Ravish Ranjan.
Students after the course will be eligible to snag jobs as hardware and network administrators, desktop support executives and so on, with salaries in the range of Rs 10,000 and Rs 13,000 per month.
Friday was also a good occasion for the senior batch to show off its expertise. Existing students presented their models on digital analog circuit technology. Palu made a project on variable power supply used in railway stations to run fans, lights, traffic control and train systems. “My project can save power. It provides different voltages for different devices and that too from a single unit,” she smiled.
Bablu made a model on a water tank electronic indicator where differently coloured lights automatically glow to indicate the position of water in the tank to help the user know when the reservoir is full. Last monsoon, he watering his dad’s fields. He’s come a long way.