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Educational Resources - Khati (Part 1)

INDIA | Wednesday, 19 March 2014 | Views [492]

The two new library laptops have proven to be invaluable on many levels. Here is a shot of a computer training class.

The two new library laptops have proven to be invaluable on many levels. Here is a shot of a computer training class.

In 2013/14 peAk, funded by the Word Nomads Footprints program, provided educational resources in the region. This included financial support for a community teacher, library supplies and educational material for the children of Jatoli School (7km from Khati). The project required the usual patience and perseverance, though unlike prior projects, the actual implementation pahse as the relatively easy part! It was the purchase phase that spanned from Australia to Delhi, Almora & Bageshwar (India) that proved time consuming and a logistical issue. However, the overall success and subsequent educational outcomes have so far been exceptional.

This is a multifaceted project that enables peAk to not only keep the library functioning throughout the school year and during the winter period but provided the finances for two laptops (among many, many other goodies) for classroom use. The keeness for the computers was incredible, the raw enthusiasm enthralling, as the students navigated their way through various learngn exercises on computer use and negotiated educational DVD's. The older girls gained new pride and confindence in their abilities aided by the realisation that both genders were treated equally with the time spent in front of the computer (unusual by standard teaching practices) and that their talents were equal, if not better, than their classroom counterparts. In recent weeks I've had a request by a community elder to teach their daughter in law computer skills....

PeAk also purchased an L210 Epson Printer for classroom and Panchayat (Council) use, this has so far proven invaluable for low cost printing of library resources like ABC, colouring, maths, maze sheets etc. The local Pradhan/Panchayat suffered incredible upheavals in 2013 which led to a hiatus in effective Panchayat functioning, as a result there will be no new Panchayat/Pradhan elect until April 2014. This effectively stalled the introduction of Birth Certificates until later in the year when the relevant official seals and stamps are available, by which time the council will also have use for the printer.

The new laminator was presssed ijto action when our 'student' Chandani (Clas 5), who despite her heavy work load at home, managed to achieve excellent results that placed her First in the primary school. The look on her face when presented with her laminated Merit Certificate was unparalleled! Most of the female students from Class 3-4 onwards have duties that range from wood collection/agricultural work to washing clothes, cooking etc - not to mention the competing elements of television - that frequently leave them 'time pressed'. So it is heart warming watching the girls eager to front to classes (even outside allocated school time), to learn and excel at every task that is placed in front of them in the class room with alacrity (and asking for homework!!).

The students continue to learn a variety of subjects that span English & Maths to art, 'playtime' and games - to name a few topics covered in the course of a term. The purchase of educational toys and games, paper, paints brushes etc (and many, many more items) have made the classroom an interesting, highly educational and challenging experience that the children thrive on.

Library attendance was fantastic but during the mid winter season we noted that as the snow blanketed the ground (rare this year) the attendance rate started to drop. Though most days I heard the constant refrain of "my feet are cold, can we get a buchari?"* with my response (light heartedly) of "where are your socks?" not cutting it! So, peAk staff and our part time employee/interpreter Dhyan finally decided to go to Bageshwar to see what we could organise. As it turned out our language skills were fine for negotiating our needs and eventually (and I say 'eventually' because the buchari delivery was constatnly thwarted by appalling weather conditions) and after much anticipation on the childrens behalf the buchari arrived. And the kids organised themselves and decided they would bring a piece of wood each when needed......

 

 * 'Buchari': an enclosed metal fireplace, vented by a door and a smoke outlet (flu) controlled with a dampener.

 

Bonnie

peAk Co-ordinator

Tags: education, khati, kumaon himalaya, library, peak

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