COMPUTER VOCATIONAL TRAINING TO ORPHANS AND UNDERPRIVILEGED CHILDREN
INTRODUCTION AND PROJECT OVERVIEW
In today’s world, Information Technology is a key component in the success of any country. Unfortunately, the high cost of education to acquire computer related skills in certain regions around the world prevents the poor, orphans and underprivileged children from availing these skills which are in demand.
The Holistic Care Foundation is striving to bridge this gap by offering IT related training to orphans and underprivileged children through Computer Vocational Training Centre in Amravati in the state of Maharashtra in India. The main objective of the proposed project is to provide computer training to the orphans and underprivileged with focus on computer literacy. Taking a step forward, we would like to emphasize on creating opportunities for the children to develop technical /vocational skills that will enable them to be self-sufficient and secure more job opportunities.
PROJECT BACKGROUND AND OPPORTUNITIES TO BE ADDRESSED
The Holistic Care Foundation recognizes that India is fast emerging as the front-runner in Information Technology. With education in cities laying emphasis on computer education and literacy, there are quite a few educational institutions in remote villages and towns that are lagging behind. UNESCO data shows that only 10.36 % of schools (rural and urban) in India have computers. The percentage of schools in rural area having computers is much lower. UNICEF 2005 research estimates show that there are 25,700,000 orphan children (0-17 years) in India (3% of India's population). From the figures it is evident that there are significant numbers of orphans in India who are computer illiterate. DISE (District Information System for Education, India) research shows that the approximately only 18% of schools in Maharashtra state (where the proposed project is based) have computers.
Need for vocational training
The speed of a nation’s development is directly related to the quantity and quality of vocational skills possessed by its workforce. The wider the range and higher the quality of vocational skills, the faster the growth and more prosperous the society.
The overall importance of upgrading vocational skills in India is highlighted by the following statement of the task force on employment opportunities:
“To summarise, the rate of growth of economy cannot be accelerated, in particular in the labour intensive sectors, if there is a general lack of skills among the work force. The example of software industry is sufficient to illustrate what can be done by our youth if the right training facilities are afforded by the society. This requires strengthening of the existing training system. The role of public sector has to be restructured and conditions created for inflow of funds at a much larger scale than at present. Role of private sector has to be expanded sharply if the requisite resources are to be brought in to bridge the large capacity gaps that exist. The vocational training policy has to respond to this challenge.”
The purpose of this program is to reduce the suffering of the orphans and vulnerable children, build their capacity by providing computer vocational training and through simple activities so that they become productive.
Aim and Scope of the Project
(a) Basic computer literacy: The main aim of this project is to provide basic computer education to orphans and underprivileged children.
(b) Computer as a tool for learning in schools and home.
(c) Computer training for vocation, e.g. accounting, desktop publishing, hardware etc.
1. To improve the quality of life of the orphans and vulnerable children by establishing a computer training centre.
2. To provide adequate education to these children to make them good citizens and have a better future through computer vocational training.
3. It aims to bring about a positive change not only in their lives but in the society as a whole.
The students will
1. Learn to use the programs in the computer, learn a lot about what the computers can be used for.
2. Learn to use the computers to learn their subjects- through browsing cds, through working in teams on projects on different subjects.
3. Learn to use the computer as a laboratory to explore things like
relationships in mathematical equations, solve equations through trial and error (the way children like to learn, the way that helps them remember what they have learnt), learn to sort data and organize information and draw inferences, etc.
4. Learn to think and create many ways of accessing available
information and honing in on the exact requirement that is relevant to a particular project.
5. Computer education will enhance confidence and self-esteem in children so that they aspire for decent livelihoods, honest and dignified positions in society through the right use of the information based on right skills acquired by them in school at the right time.
Computer as a Learning Tool
The importance of computer has been widely recognized as a means to improve efficiency in business, government and formal education. Rate of learning on computer is four to ten times faster than it is in classroom setting. Retention is likely to be much higher in learning on computer. This is true for academic as well as vocational or skill-based subjects.
Computers offer several advantages for rapid and effective learning like,
a. Multimedia – Computer courses combine written, spoken, graphic, animated and motion picture imagery to communicate concepts and illustrate applications that cannot be done in a classroom setting.
b. Interaction – Students can interact in the training program at every moment to obtain more information, qualify their understanding and test their knowledge.
c. Immediate feedback – Computer training has the additional advantage that it can provide immediate feedback to each student at every step of the learning process, which classroom teaching cannot do.
d. Paced learning– Students proceed at their own pace according to their own capacity, so it is never too fast for comprehension or too slow to hold their interest.
We believe that the world has now become a global village through Information Technology and these children should not be left behind. The Holistic Care Foundation plans to achieve this through a computer training centre to help the orphans and underprivileged develop interest in their studies, increase their self-confidence and help them acquire certain skills for success in life.
The Holistic Care Foundation aims to empower the orphans and underprivileged children through vocational training and by providing life-skills, which will broaden the scope of opportunities for them.
Computer education is also offered by outside agencies, companies but such facilities are not suitable to the requirements of these children because
1) The content is not designed for these students specially, so they cannot directly relate to or learn quickly from these courses.
2) The input to the students (lessons) and the output expected from the students is in English. The language barrier leads to inadequate comprehension, which in turn leads to infectivity or/and frustration.
Educational facilities must provide adequate technological equipment and instruction. Students are more likely to take on new challenges and broaden their capabilities if they are exposed to updated technological equipment. They master the applications that can be applied using this equipment. Once these skills are learned, students are able to transfer this knowledge to new technology as it is introduced into society, thus participating in life-long learning techniques.
To ensure the success of this program, we are adopting an educational approach with elements like,
*Output orientation: The classes will work on specific projects that will measure the output. The finished product for example, can be a newspaper article, a PowerPoint presentation, or even a web page. By working on these types of projects, students will learn practical applications of the programs taught.
*Skills enhancement: We believe that the use of technology enhances critical thinking and other developmental skills such as spatial knowledge and artistic capabilities.
An outstanding component of the program is to formulate productive processes that are conceived as a laboratory in which learning takes place under the principle of “learning by doing”. They constitute a means to foster the creation of productive units that have a sense of permanence, acceptable levels of income, entrepreneurial management, and the ability to sustain themselves with their own resources or by taking advantage of the opportunities that are available to them through the formal system.
This means analysing the improvement in the beneficiaries’ work or the results of that work, that is to say bringing about “manual literacy”.
From what has been explained above, we can deduce that the execution of productive projects contribute to creating more opportunities for work in the productive units and in the rest of the community. These are not only economic or technological opportunities but they are also social in nature.