About Us and our Mission
What is the purpose of your endeavour?
In broad terms we want to bridge the gaping digital divide in the country. Hence our mission is to provide Computer Knowledge and Training with passion and commitment, to deliver Value in the form of Computer trained people, who use this skill for betterment of their lives in every possible way.
What model do you follow for achieving your goals?
We are not the typical NGO which directly develops and works with various communities. Our strength areas are our skills are in IT, Training and Management. We have adopted a B2B or let us say NGO to NGO approach for the entire endeavor. This entails supporting other NGOs whose skills are community development but who lack the ability to provide computer literacy. Our partner NGOs have their constituencies but they are not able to provide Computer Literacy Programs. And this is where we add value. Our approach is to identify such NGOs and provide them with our expertise.
So whom are you going to train? Who is your target group?
We intend targeting all sections of our society who are not computer literate. We started at the bottom of the pyramid in enabling those who have the least hope of getting computer literate in the near future. We began with a community school called Nai Kiran in Ardee City Gurgaon. These children were in the range of 6-14 years. We have now moved on to include older children into the fold too. Now we have students of Grade XI and XII too undergoing lessons.
Approach to Training
What is your execution methodology?
The courseware is designed by expert IT teachers. It consists of 12 modules of 6 weeks each. A student who goes through the entire program will be certified as Computer Literate. We carry the Notebooks, all electrical extension boards, LCD projector and the Screen in a vehicle to the school and set up the class. It takes about one hour to set up the class. Students are divided into batches. Each child is allocated a notebook so that all their work is saved on a particular machine. Each classed is manned by one teacher, one assistant teacher, an admin assistant and a preferably a couple of volunteers to help the children. In addition to this every school has a Site manager (an experienced person) to oversee the entire operations. The site manager usually has a vehicle in which he / she carries the paraphernalia required for conducting the class.
How do you plan to take this forward? Are you going to follow a curriculum by the government?
No we are not going to follow school curriculum. Based on the experience of working professionals we have chartered out a syllabus which is our assessment of what anyone needs to know to be be called Computer Literate. Following are the broad contents of our course –
- Learning Uses and Parts of a computer
- Computer Start Up and Shut Down
- Using the Keyboard
- Using the mouse / touch pad
- Using Paint to draw
- Naming and organizing files
- Text processing & formatting
- Using spreadsheets as database and calculator
- Presentation Skills
- Internet applications for browsing & searching
Each Module is typically 9 hours and would take 6 weeks to be covered.
Depending on the target population this might mean that IT skilling of a small batch of children spread over various topics should take 12 Months. After this is accomplished the project will be considered over and would be revisited next year to upgrade the class to the next prescribed levels. Here we have to understand that this might not be always true because the children in these schools are migrant population and every few months the entire lot might change in which case we would repeat it with the same school multiple times a year depending on the requirement.
The NGO will thus run need based projects at multiple sites.
Experience Till Now
What all have you done till now?
We started our first project on 5th May 2012 at Nai Kiran Universal school, Ardee City Gurgaon. Here are some details of how we have grown
2 LCD projector
Multiple Extension board
6 Site Managers
2 Administrative helps
Steady stream of Volunteers
World Class governance (Legal & Accounting)
Identification & Training of Trainers
SOPs for processes articulated on paper
Section 80G approval
What teaching aids are you using?
Each child has an independent machine to work on. The Lead Instructor is aided by one assistant in the class.
An LCD projector is used to project the trainer’s desktop on a screen to enhance understanding by children.
Detailed Instructor manuals have been prepared for each module – these manuals are quite elaborate so that uniformity of instruction is maintained irrespective of variations in instructor competence levels. The manuals constitute of slide packs for the instructor accompanied by detailed instructions on how to conduct the class.
Growing Computer Shiksha
How do you plan to grow?
Given where we have reached from 60 children in May 2012 to 1000+ in July 2013 we are very keen to scale up and reach out to touch more lives. Here is how we plan to do it – Computer Shiksha will be a network of nodes. From our Gurgaon experience we have seen that a node constituting of 30 machines, three trainers, 3 site managers and 2 IT support personnel can cater to 3 project sites. Such a node will be able to cater to the learning requirement of almost 500 children.
We intend each node to be operationally independent working with laid down standard operating processes for each function and activity to be performed. Computer Shiksha will grow node by node.
We are however mindful of the challenges as we grow. Getting funds and people committed to the cause continues to be a challenge. There are several individuals / groups of people who have evinced interest in helping us expand in sites as far away as Indore and Kolkata but we are working on our due diligence methodology and checklists before we move in that direction.
How many Nodes do you have currently?
We started the first node in April 2012 with 15 machines. That took more than 6 months to grow into a full fledged node with 32 machines, 3 trainers, 1 administrative hand and all related paraphernalia. In July 2013 we added our second node. Both nodes are now operational in Gurgaon!
What are your immediate challenges?
There are two kinds of challenges that we face currently –
Needless to mention the model that we are following needs a lot of investment in IT hardware .Secondly in order to keep the operations as professional as possible we hire trainers on a paid basis to teach children so that commitment to the initiative can be ensured with certain amount of authority For all these expenses we need funds on a regular basis.
The second challenge is finding rather locating like minded people who share our passion and can work with us on a sustained basis to help us sustain our initiative.
How do you seek to handle them?
For funds we will continue to keep our current base of donors engaged to seek regular support from them and also keep working at expanding this base. But now that we have received the Section 80G certificate which ensures tax exemption for donations we intend taking Computer Shiksha to corporates to seek funds.
How Can I Help
To begin with do sign up for our Friends of Computer Shiksha programme.
- You can help by donating a notebook whose battery back up is fully functional.
- You can help by contributing any amount to the running of this initiative to cover costs of paid trainers, permanent staff and other expenses.
- You can volunteer take one or more class of 45 minutes each twice a week (from Monday to Saturday), in case you are in Gurgaon
- You can help support the class by providing support to the Trainer who is taking the class
- You can help by helping develop learning material
- You can help us by becoming an active network of fund raisers. This is actually the need of the hour!
If what you can do is not there in the list – just reach out to us – we are sure there will be something you could do!
How do I get in touch with you?
Write to either