The Rajasthan state government in India has gone a long way in driving social and economic progress. The Rajasthan Education Initiative (REI), working in partnership with the Intel Education Initiative, has made great strides in transforming their schools to deliver a 21st century education to their students.
Nowhere has this transformation been more vivid than in rural Rajasthan where teachers, trained with the Intel Teach program, are solving social and community-based challenges like education, health, and equal opportunities for female students in addition to providing the basic necessities of education. These teachers’ bold initiatives and creativity are transforming the role of education in Rajasthan.
A shining example of the impact that just one teacher can have is Shaitan Singh Rathore. Shaitan Singh is a graduate of the Intel® Teach Program, and it was during his training that he was taught the thematic concept of ‘project based learning’. Shaitan is a former Indian Air Force Technician who became a teacher in Nimaaj, the Pali district of Rajasthan.
Nimaaj is highly dependent on agriculture, like other contemporary Indian villages in the Pali district. The literacy rate is only 62%, and many underprivileged children never enroll at school, or drop out of school early to shoulder responsibilities for their families.
With the support of the school Principal, Mr. Narayan Lal, and the Intel Teach training team, Shaitan Singh planned a project based learning assignment which asked his students to study the causes and potential solutions to the issue of non enrollment, drop outs, and poor attendance of students in the community.
The students were inspired to have the opportunity to address a real issue in their community and to spread the message about the importance of education to their peers and their community.
To complete the project, the students of Class 8 from Seth Meghraj Government Adarsh Upper Primary School undertook field work, conducted surveys, and collected and compiled data. The students then analysed the data with the help of ICT tools, such as Microsoft* Excel* and collaboratively discussed the data to formulate strategies about how to address the issues and how to share what they had learned with the community.
They decided to take their message to the community via rallies and door-to-door campaigns to increase awareness about the benefits of education. The students developed slogans and used PC tools to design the banners and posters for the rallies. They also used computers to create pamphlets for the campaign and made presentations to mobilise the community. “I was delighted with my students’ efforts. They even worked after school hours to ensure the successful completion of their project” said Shaitan Singh.
The success of the project can be seen from the tangible impact it had in the community. Not only did nine children return to school that had previously dropped out, but the staff was delighted to see 42 new students enrollments. The project clearly demonstrated to Shaitan Singh and Mr. Lal that the Intel Teach Program methodology of using project based learning that is supported with ICT does make a tangible difference in engaging students in the classroom and a real impact in the community.
The Intel Teach Program is a part of Intel’s Education Transformation effort. Through these programs, Intel is supporting teachers who are spearheading educational transformation in their communities, and supporting governments and communities across Asia-Pacific to develop the human capital that will drive their economic growth in the future.
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