With the generous donation by Ms. Vicki Standish of Australia, TEWFI built an e-Education Center. Officially opened on 22 January 2008, this is the first computer center for our rural region. Located adjacent to the Uluru Children’s Home (UCH), this center is accessible to the residents from surrounding villages, in addition to the children from UCH
Along with construction of the building 20 Desktop computers were included.
Because of the high demand for using and learning the computers, TEWFI realized more was needed. In 2011 Cognizant donated a bus along with netbooks, projector and television to enhance the eCow project. In 2014 TEWFI received a gift of another fully equipped eCOW Bus by the Mr. Sathish Ramakrishna from USA. Forty laptops were also donated.
In 2018 Cognizant Foundation donated 38 desktops and 10 laptops.
As of today we have the computer Wallah Project, eCow project, Community classes, UCH computer classes and UNPS computer classes. And the center, because of the computers and Wifi access, has become a useful resource for online uses.
Computer for Education
As India is progressing towards rapid development, with a focus on information and communication technology (ICT) as one of its main industries, having basic computer skills is almost a necessity. These skills will undoubtedly increase educational and employment opportunities for all. The local staff who run this center conduct regular classes which provide necessary ICT education to a wide range of target groups.
- Basic computer skill classes for the children at UCH.
- Weekend IT classes for children and youth from the wider community which attract large number of students. Classes range from basic computer skills to MS Power point, Photoshop, Excel.
- Computer Education Programmer (CPE) targeting the youth within the community who are reliant upon fishing for their livelihood. The CPE shows them the benefits and opportunities possible through the use of computers.
- Computer training classes are held for teachers and TEWFI staff in, for example, the usage of Tamil-based software.
- The Computer Wallah and eCOW classes are ongoing throughout the school term.
Computer Wallah Project
Since October 2009, The Vicky Standish electronic Education Centre (VSeEC) staff have been running this project at local schools and in the community to provide a free of charge, highly accessible, mobile computer-assisted instruction with the use of laptops. This program we call “Computer Wallah” (CW). The basic goal of this program is to go inside the classroom and teach the fifth and sixth standard students use of the computer and Microsoft programs. The class first consists of teaching by the IT instructor and then time is spent with the students practicing what they learned using the computers with the instructor being involved helping them.
eClassroom on Wheels (eC0w) Project
Whatever project TEWFI initiates we would like it to make a great difference in the Community. In August 2010 as one of our initiatives, TEWFI launched and ran the Mobile Computer Wallah Project. The impact of this project was significant. We then decided to deliver this project as an eClassroom on Wheels (eCOW) due to inadequate facilities (space, table, chairs, electricity etc) in the communities and in the schools. TEWFI obtained generous donations from the Cognizant Foundation under their Corporate Social Responsibility for establishing e-Classroom on Wheels Project. A 32-seater mini bus was altered to allow 20 to 25 students to attend classes inside the bus. Each seat has a foldable tray at the rear where a laptop can be placed.
This program is still running successfully. During the school term eight government schools, eighth standard students, are visited twice weekly. The teaching focus is on Microsoft Office. The bus is also used for women’s classes and community evening classes. During the summer the bus goes into the communities and offers classes during the day.
Computer Knowledge for Local Women
Presently, more than 25 children in the community and 10 children at UCH have undergone this training and have achieved impressive results. This programme has helped those children and adults, who have never seen computers, to learn basic computer operations such as MS office, Internet usage and other operations. We are seeking funds to purchase a mini bus which will be altered in such a way that computer students can operate and learn computing inside the bus itself. We firmly believe this will benefit those people who are very much interested in getting an education in computing but are not able to access our existing center, the Vicki Standish e-Education center.
Village Knowledge Center
TEWFI targets the local community, where previously there was no immediate access to information regarding Health, Education, Employment, Farming or Fishing, which is crucial for community development. This was due to a lack of awareness among the community but also due to a lack of technology. This meant the development of the community was impede as members were unable to effectively or efficiently complete tasks. Correct information can provide a stimulus for ideas, allowing people to choose better, more appropriate options. It can also help them find experts in the relevant areas. Before the input of TEWFI and initiation of the Village Knowledge Center, the community was informally provided with information that was available to us via online and offline sources.
MS Swaminathan Research Foundation is an expert in the project and has established Village Knowledge Centers all over Tamil Nadu and other States. TEWFI wanted to share in their expertise whilst setting up the project in Edaikazhinadu Panchayat. A good rapport has been established between TEWFI and the MS Swaminathan research Foundation and a data base has been shared.
Official inauguration of the project occurred at the Vicki Standish e-Education Center on 28.09.2009. After the project inauguration, people from all around Edaikazhinadu Panchayat came to the center and accessed information which is vital for community development. For activities run and organized by the Foundation, Social Workers access information through the Village Knowledge Center and disseminate it into the community.
An alternative way to disseminate information is when people come to the center, they are provided with references through appropriate sources. If the data is not available offline, it is obtained through the internet resources. Sometimes experts in the field are consulted to obtain relevant information. Some examples of the nature of information provided through our Village Knowledge Center is examination results for the School and University students, filling and tracking of online passport applications, employment news, Health information. College directories, e-ticket booking, PNR enquiry and typing of resumes or petitions etc.
A 12th Std student who came to the Computer Center and volunteered at VSeEC had ambition for Higher Studies. His ambition was to undertake a Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He had no idea about the universities that offered this course. He was also unable to afford to pay for the course. He was able to access information for his Higher Education through Village Knowledge Center Data Base. He also has accessed information for applying for an educational loan. He joined in a college with the information accessed from VKC and received guidance from the staff. He is now doing the course by accessing the Education Loan offered under Education Schemes of the Government.
Another youth was looking for employment. He was attending the Spoken English Programme organized at VSeEC. He accessed information regarding the employment opportunity in Air India. All the formalities like filling in the application and applying for the posting were done at VSeEC. All the information regarding the interview process was given. He was also given all the guidance for the preparation. He cleared all the formalities and now he has joined as a security agent in Air India.
We have also been maintaining the list of beneficiaries. Click here to view the list of beneficiaries through this center.
Workshops and Trainings
A lack of resources and underutilisation of those resources that exist are a major reason for the low standard of education in the local school. Despite Government initiatives to improve resources in schools, the progress is slow. It is also necessary for teachers to be trained in the effective utilisation of the available resources so educational outcomes can be improved.
Teachers in the Government schools in the Edaikazhinadu Panchayat lack skills in computer operation and the use of other modem technologies which are provided by the Government to the schools. The children cannot visualise or conceptualise what is being taught because teachers are unable to demonstrate and model in a meaningful way. Apart from new technologies, teachers need to be able to show their students what is required to reinforce the learning process. The lack of exposure to good teaching methods can cause the children to feel inferior and isolated when they progress to higher education.
Our Foundation has conducted workshops for the teachers in the local schools on computer literacy and also on using the educational software obtained from the Azim Premji Foundation. About 25 teachers participated in the training. They found that this training was very useful as they are not able to use the computers in their schools because they lack the necessary skills. After organising this programme, the teachers were able to operate a computer.
After graduation the students need to be prepared for taking seminar classes using Power Point software. In order to assist them TEWFI has been providing training to the Higher Secondary Schools Students in the preparation of a Power Point Presentation. A presentation done by the Higher Secondary School students at VSeEC is given as a link here.
UNPS ICT Class
Children are never too young to learn and benefit from the use of computers. Twice weekly the students supplement their classroom learning at the computer center with online experiences.
The UCH Children have the privilege of the use of the computer center. They explore and learn programs such as MS-word, Paint, Photoshop and have access to the benefits and proper use of the internet.
VSeEC staff go into the local community to provide computer skills to the women who otherwise would not have access to classes to learn these new skills.
Summer Tech Program at VSeEC
During the summer the computer center is open to the local community children with classes that will help them to expand their knowledge and use of the computer.
UCH Weekend Class
The children are so enthused about computer learning that they spend some of their free time on Saturday at the computer center.
After hard work and completing the class the students are given a certificate of completion.