“One fine evening, I sat with my teammates, we were discussing how will we celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Muskaan Foundation. Everyone shared their valuable ideas. On my turn, I was wondering if we could work on the education system in any village. Since I am a village boy and my ancestors were also from a village”, said Abhishek Dubey, State President and Founder of Muskaan Foundation.
Digital school inauguration
On 26 June 2017, the first of its kind E-content based Digital School was introduced in the village Chinnor of Gwalior district. Its inauguration was a joint initiative by Muskaan Foundation – a youth driven non-profit organisation working to ensure educational, emotional and financial support to the children living in slums and orphanage, and Ministry of Rural Development.
The ordinary government school was renovated and then converted into a Digital School with the aim to provide education through E-content based technology, where all the subjects will be taught without books and in a digital way.
“It was really not possible in a rural area to convert a structure-less government school into a digital one without the efforts of my team and with the help of Ministry of Rural Development”, said Abhishek to The Logical Indian.
He further added, “We worked very hard in scorching heat with the temperature rising as high as 47-48 degrees. But we wanted to renovate the school and train the teachers”.
Besides this, a constant check will be kept in attendance of the students with the help of apps, as well as a check will also be kept on the lessons that are taught by teachers in the classrooms on a daily basis.
On the occasion, chief guest Mr Narendra Singh Tomar had said, “Indian government is having a strong control over the current scenario of digitalisation. We are progressing in terms of technology jargon”, adding that the recently launched Digital School in Chinnor is a perfect example of this initiative.
What is Muskaan?
Muskaan is a youth driven non-profit organisation working to ensure educational, emotional and financial support to the children living in slums and orphanage. It was registered in the year 2014 and has now reached out to more than 300 children in five centres across three cities named Gwalior, Bhopal and Indore. The organisation has a highly efficient and enthusiastic 250 plus strong volunteer network who commit a year and spend time between 3 to 5 hours every week, mentoring, teaching and interacting with the children to ensure that they get the support and care needed during growing years.
Muskaan is working on different innovative models like ‘Developing Life Skills’ – where children are taught and exposed to life skills from an early childhood; ‘Developing Infrastructure’ – where the focus is on hygiene, health and the well-being of children; ‘Vocational Training’ – where poor children are provided with vocational training so that they are able to support their education, as well as their family; and ‘Changing The Ecosystem’ – in this model they try to transform the ecosystem for the institutionalised children by mobilising and sensitising the community through various programs and community events.
Reason behind converting an ordinary government school into a digital one
Abhishek says that workplace plays an important role in today’s era. If the place where you work is not creative and innovative, that is of no use because there are fewer chances of learning and exploring new ideas.
“We wanted to explore the minds of children and make the school colourful. We started ‘Wall Visual Studies’, where we painted the walls with important contemporary topics like World Atlas, the Reproductive system, the menstrual cycle process and other topics,” said Abhishek. He further added, “The aim was to make it creative through digitalisation because we want these children to get connected globally”.
Restructuring with modern infrastructure
- E content from Educomp
- Content in multiple languages
- App for school attendance and child progress report
- Computers for children
- Science learning through wall art
- A small library for children
- Unique dining space for children
- Colourful infrastructure
- Interior plants in all the classrooms adopted by each child
- Drinking water and toilets
- School kit for all children
- Software for tracking teacher’s work on a daily basis
Abhishek discerned, “Digitalised from scratch, we have restructured a government school and equipped it with state of the art facilities which will provide the students with a futuristic, conducive and fun environment to learn and grow in”.
On asking about future plans, Abhishek said that they are planning to build approximately 100 digital schools not only in one village of Gwalior but across the state of Madhya Pradesh to facilitate a value based education learning environment.
Abhishek recalled an inspirational quote by Swami Vivekananda and said, “This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive”.
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