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Poor kids get e-lessons

- Digital learning gear for 20 Kolhan schools

Destiny’s children from East Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan districts will soon take digital lessons in science and mathematics, thanks to efforts of Pratham Education Foundation.

While most private schools in and around Jamshedpur have introduced e-learning techniques in their classrooms, students of low-profile cradles are yet to enjoy such gifts of technology. Pratham, in a bid to reach out to such children, has launched a drive to install e-learning gear in 1,000 low-profile schools across the country.

The drive will cover 100 cradles in Jharkhand. While 30 have been earmarked in each of Ranchi and Giridih, 10 schools each from East Singhbhum, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Dhanbad and Deoghar will be covered. While a handful of cradles have started imparting digital lessons, the others will follow.

The project, sponsored by a telecom service provider, lays focus on students of Classes VI and VII. “It aims to reach out to students of aided and minority schools. We chose students of Classes VI and VII because at that age they start understanding science,” said Sandeep Kumar Das, regional programme assistant for Pratham.

Das added that he and his co-worker Neeraj Pandey had visited 80 schools in the twin Kolhan districts and selected 20. The selection was made on the basis of fee structure, infrastructure and financial background of students. Mainly schools that follow the CBSE pattern were selected.

The gear comprises a WebBox. It has a 600 MHz processor and runs on Android 2.1 operating system. It includes a keyboard, and audio-video cables that plug into a television. A 2G sim enables the device to access Internet. The schools have also got a 32-inch LCD screen as part of the package. The WebBox is equipped with e-learning applications.

As of now, about 45 teachers in the twin districts have been trained to use the device. Representatives of Pratham will be monitoring the set up from time to time. “We will fix any technical issues with the system in the next three years. We hope it helps students understand science better,” said Das.