Setting up of Computer Training Labs across Gramothan Resource Centres:
Presently Ekal has 15 GRCs with 6 more under development across India and a majority of GRCs now have IT labs to provide computer training to equip tribal & rural youth with Digital Skills. In line with the vision of Ekal Digital Mission, all GRCs are now connected with high-speed internet. This is a step forward to take Digital Skills in the remotest areas, making local rural youth learn IT and online platforms so that they can leverage the internet to get market linkages for agri produce and other craft products. The centres are offering structured training which leads to certification and employable skills among youth. Apart from GRC, Ekal Training Centres are also established in remote areas with Computer Labs. Presently seventeen such centres are being set up and three are in the process of development which will take the count to twenty by the year-end. This IT infrastructure in GRCs and Ekal Training Centres will help to achieve the objectives of connectivity and direct market linkages which will ultimately provide the economic connectivity with better livelihood opportunities.
Ekal on Wheels (EOW) is another example of Ekal bottom up approach, when we realized that the youth, especially girls from remote tribal and rural villages can not travel too far for learning IT skill; this idea of making a computer lab in a van to have a movable IT lab was evolved. The EOW has 15 laptops with one big screen connected with laptop for the trainer to show demos to the candidates. Ekal on Wheels move from village to village and spends 2 hrs in a particular village with a monthly calendar in place so that youth from that village complete their training leading to certification. This is making a phenomenal impact to make youth digitally literate in the remotest villages of the tribal and rural belt. Through IT training, its also imparting employable skills among youth so that they can get employment in nearby towns or district cities as there is a lot of demand for multi-skilled IT literate people in these urban and semi-urban centres. Presently Ekal has a fleet of 27 operational Ekal on Wheels moving in tribal areas and also in difficult hilly terrains to reach out to the remotest villages so that the tribal and rural youth get the computer lab at their door-steps. This is a mission on the move and 10 more EOWs are under development which will be rolled out by this year end which will make the number of EOWs to 37. This initiative is an example of Ekal commitment to Digital Mission and overcoming the barrier of connectivity with last mile connectivity.
Ekal E-Shisha project was started to achieve the core objective envisioned in the policy and vision document adopted by Ekal Abhiyan in 2015 as Ekal Vision 2025 wherein Ekal resolved to initiate “Ekal Digital MIssion”. The idea was to use technology as enabler in achieving different objectives of Ekal Abhiyan. As part of the same, ICT was thought as one of the tool to achieve two major objectives:
- Acharayas (Ekal Teachers) as Change Leaders: To provide a direct connect with National Trainers to Ekal teachers through pre-recorded videos of training sessions to ensure uniformity in the training and development of teachers. It also envisioned to provide them different e-content to equip them with the knowledge to spread awareness among the community as per Ekal five-fold education. This is becoming a tool of continuous learning for teachers that will ultimately help in transforming them to Social Change Leaders in their village.
- Technology as enabler to promote Ekal Pedagogy: To use ICT in furtherance of Ekal mode of learning based on informal education driven by the philosophy of “learning by doing” which is also known as “Activity Based Learning”. The model is developed as a result of grassroot working of Ekal full-timers who have sacrificed their lives in working with tribal & rural children, learning their behavioural patterns and developing the model in the remotest parts of India. The ICT was thought of supporting the tested model of Ekal Learning through different types of e-content and social gaming.
Presently Ekal e-shiksha has reached to 1170 number of Ekal Vidyalayas where children are learning through TABs apart from the on-going activity-based learning. Moreover, we are ready to execute in another 1800 Vidyalayas by this year-end which will take this reach to 2970 Vidyalayas. This has resulted into enhanced interest of children and better learning outcome. For Ekal this is a long-distance to travel to reach out to all Vidyalayas but we are committed to make this happen under Ekal Digital Mission.