Hardip Singh, a 13 year-old from Tunda, a catchment village located in the Kutch district of Gujarat, now has access to multi-media computers just outside of his classroom. This dramatic change in his school life is the result of Project Sujaan, an initiative of Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL), the wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power. It all began when CGPL was exploring project sites in the Mundra and Mandvi Talukas in the Kutch district of Gujarat for its flagship project – the 4000 MW Ultra Mega Power Plant. The company conducted a detailed survey of the villages that lay within its operational area. The survey spilled out a dismal scenario of the schools, revealing dire conditions that needed urgent restoration.
Like Hardip, Project Sujaan has managed to help 900 plus students, living and studying in the CGPL project zone. They now proudly proclaim themselves to be ‘computer literate’. The project has been implemented in partnership with Hole–in-the-Wall Education (Hiwell), a Joint Venture between NIIT and the International Finance Corporation, part of the World Bank group. The sharp change in the situation of these schools has managed to garner attention of both analysts and academicians. This is not the first time that CGPL is involved in enhancing the quality of education in this region. The company has undertaken a number of innovative initiatives which have successfully transformed in the field of education.
But what makes Sujaan special is that it is an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) project. For a long time now, both governmental and non-governmental agencies have invested in ICT projects and ensured that rural schools across the country are equipped with computers and students are honed with technological skills.
However, when it comes to CGPL’s community activities, they guarantee that the machines are being used by the students, and not stacked up in the storeroom under layers of dust. Teachers and students are rigorously trained at learning stations set up in the villages. Besides this, orientation programmes and workshops are conducted to provide ‘how to’ tips, knowledge on technological innovations, hardware/software design, cognitive skills and troubleshooting methods.
Quite often the CGPL staff members volunteer to participate in these workshops. This helps the candidates get a professional perspective on technology. Keeping the local communities involved and engaged in its activities is that core of CGPL’s projects. Under Project Sujaan, whenever a new computer kiosk is launched; or a workshop is planned; or a school is awarded for a project, the community heavy weights are invited to participate.
Taking its committed involvement a little further CGPL regularly evaluates the achievements of the students. Not just in computer literacy, but also in subjects such as English, Mathematics and the Social Sciences.
Students trained under Sujaan are also equally exposed to fun online activities such as cyber entertainment products, games and simple software that teach info graphics and interactive modules are also available.
Hardip’s insightful words mirrors the valuable impact that Project Sujaan has made in the lives of these students, “Enrollments have increased in the school since every kid these days wants to learn how to use computers and feels excited to be able to learn on computers. I use computer for translating work from Gujarati to English, extensively use dictionary installed in it to find meanings of new English words I learn in class, and researching on science projects has never been so much fun before.”
Source: Tata Power Mundra UMPP – Towards a Cleaner & Greener Future, https://www.tatapower.com/cgpl-mundra/pdf/umpp-greener-future121015.pdf