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E-Library: Now in a Government School In Bangalore!

  • February 23, 2015
  • Payoshni Saraf
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A couple of days back a happy email popped into my mail box.
Our friends from Mantra4Change had shared a Facebook album with me with photographs from the Digital Reading program in progress they had just started
in one of their partner schools. I was very excited to see the pictures; kids
engrossed in reading one of our titles ‘Colours of Nature’ sitting in small
groups in front of the bright desktop screens. 
When I got to know more about this school and the work Mantra4Change does,
my belief in the power of community in empowering our Education institutions
strengthened.
This picture is from the Government Urdu Model Primary
School,Farooqia Nagar in Bangalore. This school
is one of the partner schools for Mantra4Change where they transform and
empower a school to take it to its full potential by connecting and engaging
with the teachers at a deeper level. We shared our CC books with them to set up
a digital-reading program in their partner schools. In the Government Urdu
Model Primary School, students from Standard 1st to 7th
standard get a chance to come to the computer lab during their computer period
and read books of their choice. Earlier, the same period was used to play games
on computers and generally create chaos in the lab because no computer was
otherwise taught.  The Mantra Team first
trained the teachers’ basics of how to use a computer, how to start it and
access stories kept in separate folders. This percolated down to students who
sat in groups of 2s and 3s to read a story of their choice of language and
title.
What fascinated me most about the pictures was the good
health of the computers and the bright LCD screens in front of the kids. If you
have ever stepped into Government schools in Bangalore (or anywhere else in the
country), you will know the sorry state of the labs and the defunct computers
that occupy these, so my wonderment was genuine. When inquired further, I got
to know that one of the well-off members of this densely populated community
devotes 10% of his earnings to good causes. Those computers have been supplied
to the school , thanks to his donation. This gentleman decided to put 10% of
his hard earned money into bettering Education for the children of his
community.  Imagine if the entire
community took matters in its hands and worked towards getting better infrastructure,
conducive learning environment, better teaching tools to support Education,
would there remain any gap at all in India education landscape of rich vs poor
or urban vs rural?
The team at Mantra4Change has
recognized this power and engages with the communities around their partner
school meanwhile continuing its efforts towards empowering the teachers. They are in process of setting this e-library at one more Government
school at KP Agrahara  through the
computers donated by Zyme Solutions and another one in an affordable private school in Rajendra Nagar.
 Do check out their
Facebook page to engage with them or support their Fund-Raising campaign to
help students from low-income families in receiving quality education.
Pratham Books is actively spreading its digital footprints
to increase the access of multilingual and multi-level books to children. Many
of our books are under the Creative Commons, whose digital copies are shared with
our partner organizations under the Digital Reading programs that we jointly
run. We thank the Mantra team for taking our books to multiple Government
schools in Bangalore. All the best Team Mantra4Change! May your tribe increase!
Teachers getting trained on how to use an E-Library
Girls engrossed in reading ‘Colours of Nature’
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