Digital classrooms provide better learning opportunities to underprivileged girls in Delhi
Plan India, a non-profit organisation, is providing quality education through Community Digital Classrooms in Delhi’s urban slum clusters. With one resource hub and 15 learning hubs, the initiative aims to benefit 15,000 poor girls in the next three years.
According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, 400 million Indians had access to the internet in 2015, which was a jump of 49 percent in the number of such Indians from the previous year. However, the percentage of women users was just 29 percent.
Plan India, a non-profit organisation, sought to address this asymmetry with the Community Digital Learning Centres (DLC). Launched in November 2015 in partnership with Ericsson, the DLCs leverage technology to provide quality education to young women in the age group of 15-25 years within their own communities, helping them overcome limited mobility, patriarchal and socio economic challenges.
Besides educating young women, the core idea behind the initiative is to curb school dropouts and boost the self-confidence of girls in marginalised communities. It also makes learning and skill development affordable and available in a safe and convenient environment.
Using information and communications technology (ICT), enrolled students can receive education in subjects like English, Math, and Science for ninth and tenth standards from any of the 15 DLCs.
Apart from the core subjects, Human Rights, Gender, Personality Development, Reproductive Health and pre-vocational career counselling are also taught in the learning centres.
DLCs main hub is located in Dwarka, where teachers conduct three consecutive classes on Math, Science and English from afternoon till evening. The 15 learning centres are located in Delhi’s resettlement colonies of Dwarka, Holambi Kalan and Rangpuri Pahadi. Each of these centres has a facilitator, an educator who helps the teacher manage the large digital board and ensure smooth communication between teachers and students.
Sanjay Kumar has been teaching Maths to the students at Plan India’s DLC in Dwarka since its inception.
“When I first joined, I had no idea of how the children would be able to interact with me from an isolated destination, but after learning the technology, I do not feel disconnected with the children who are sitting elsewhere. We have been following the NCERT syllabus and the children are very happy, as we intend to complete the subjects before its being taught in schools. In one session, I am connected directly with 400 girls in 15 centres,” says Sanjay.
So far, the initiative has witnessed around 5,000 young girls actively attending scheduled classes.With an aim to widen the reach of students, the project also conducts enrollment drives in the marginalised communities. Besides, it also aims to create awareness among parents about the importance of girl education and has sensitised nearly 30,000 parents and community members through meetings and counselling sessions.
Fifteen-year-old Budhma joined the DLC classes at Holambi Kalan in 2015 in Class X. Today, she has completed her 10th grade. Despite her family environment not being too conducive to studies, she enrolled in the classes for two years and passed her 10th grade with 68 percent marks.
“I have gained a lot of self-confidence by coming to the Digital Learning Centre. I no longer hesitate to ask questions to my teachers. After my academic support, I have enrolled in other modules and am helping other younger children in our community in their studies,” says Budhma.
About Plan India
A member of Plan International Federation, Plan India is a nationally recognised independent child development organisation that aims to transform the lives of vulnerable and excluded children, their families and communities. For over 35 years, Plan India has been working to provide improved access to protection, basic education, proper healthcare, a healthy environment, livelihood opportunities and participation in decisions making to millions of children.
Child protection has always a key priority for the Plan India Digital Learning Centers and education is imparted adhering to strict policies and procedures. All facilitators in these centres hold relevant degrees or are retired school teachers. Creating a unique amalgamation of technology and discipline. Plan India aims to change the existing mindset of girl education in India.
Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India, says, “Plan India has been implementing programmes that engage, equip and enable girls of all ages to acquire adequate skills and knowledge to succeed in life. This innovative partnership will help young women from our communities’ access best in class learning opportunities within their own communities.”