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  Social Responsibility

Published on: Feb. 13, 2020, 11:18 a.m.
Dell’s programme has touched over 1,000 government schools
  • The Dell team with CEO, Niti Aayog

By Business India Editorial

Dell India’s strategic area of focus for charitable giving is youth learning, and the company’s initiative works to close the learning gap for thousands of young people who lack access to quality programmes, education, technology and tools to learn by partnering with innovative non-profit organisations.

In the financial year 2019 over 200,000 youth in more than 1,000 government/marginalised schools in the states of Delhi, Haryana, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana were impacted through Dell’s technology integrated learning and teaching.

Each of these schools had access at a minimum to a Dell Laptop and Dell projector and interactive e-learning content that is developed with support from Dell funding. Dell team members enhance the impact of the programme through volunteering with these non-profits in academic and recreational activities and infrastructure-related projects.

Says Nagaveni T.V., principal of Government High School Uttarahalli, Bengaluru, “Over the years, as a direct result of the Dell Youth Learning intervention, there has been a marked interest in science and maths [among students], in technology-based learning, in student enrollment – all of which has led to an impressive strength of 1,600 students as of date.”

Mohammed Habib Shaik, principal of Ahad High School, Hyderabad observed, “In collaboration with Dell and Learning Links Foundation, the school is embracing technology as a tool to enhance student learning outcomes.”

In addition to the direct impact in many of the schools, the Dell computer lab is used to impart ICT skills to children from other schools in the neighbourhood where programmes are conducted after normal school hours. In several of the learning centres (from partners such as Literacy India, Humana and Hope foundation) the Dell computer centre is used to train youth from the community in computer literacy. At the end of the training period, the youth are provided with a certificate after an assessment which enhances their opportunities for employment.

Collaboration with NITI Aayog: In partnership with NITI Aayog, through the latter’s Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs), several dedicated workspaces have been set up at schools across the country, helping to ensure students aged 12 to 18 years are exposed to technologies such as 3D printers, robotics, electronic development tools, IoT and sensors. With the help of Learning Links Foundation, Dell adopted 30 ATL schools in 2016-2017, and targets to increase the school count to 86 by 2019 with plans to establish three Community Tinkering Hubs, the first of their kind.

The spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship was visible in a recent competition involving ATLs across India. Over 30,000 children took part in forming teams to develop product ideas to solve everyday problems using the latest technologies and their out-of-the-box thinking. Over 650 product ideas were submitted focusing on the key social sectors of Agritech, Healthcare, Clean Energy, Smart Mobility, Waste Management and Water Resources.

Out of the 100 teams that were shortlisted, the top 30 teams were granted a three-month-long ATL Student Innovator Program (SIP). Dell supported the SIP and nurtured four teams to refine their prototypes by providing technical expertise and creating a go-to-market product. After months of discussions and careful analysis by a team of scientist and industry leaders, India’s top 6 ATL young innovator teams were selected.

The winners were awarded a 10 month ‘ATL Student Entrepreneurship Programme’ with Dell. Launched in partnership with the Learning Links Foundation, the programme started in April 2019 and aims at helping the students to transform their innovative prototypes into fully functioning products ready to go to market. The Student Entrepreneurship Programme offered by Dell will serve as a catalyst and help accelerate the entrepreneurial journey of the young innovators in creating a New Innovative India.

Collaboration with Government of Karnataka: Dell has also partnered with Sikshana Foundation to support their flagship programme “Prerana”. The programme is developed by Sikshana Foundation and has been designed for implementation in the Government educational ecosystem (largely targeted at Higher Primary Schools, Grades 4th through 8th). The emphasis with “Prerana” has been on achieving improved learning levels (with a focus on efforts put in by the child) using motivation as the primary tool.

Sikshana Foundation uses its technology platform “Analytics Process Tools” (APT) to capture the students’ interest and strength (curricular and co-curricular) along with the effort that they are investing in their learning journey. Having this granularity of data enables the department to arrive at appropriate data-driven decisions to improve the quality of education in schools.

The learning levels of these children examined as part of nationwide surveys conducted year on year by NGO Pratham has been reported through its Annual Status of Education Report. Analysis of ASER for 2014-16 reveals a consistent improvement in the learning levels of children in the Ramanagara district where Prerana has been implemented.

Manoj, an early student under Sikshana’s Prerana Programme hailed from a small village near Hukunda in Karnataka. Manoj did all his schooling from the government schools nearby. He participated in Sikshana Foundation’s quiz competition in Class 7 where he was adjudged as one of the winners. Says Manoj, “As a winner of the quiz, I was awarded a Delhi trip. The trip experience really inspired me, and I decided to achieve something in life. Electricity was also a major problem in my village. But thanks to the solar lamp provided by Sikshana Foundation, I was able to study hard during nights.” Continuous support from Sikshana, motivated him to be on track. He transferred to English medium for his PUC where he scored 80 per cent in his final exams. Manoj’s persistent efforts brought him closer to his goals and changed his life path. He is currently pursuing final year civil engineering in Ramanagara.

Dhanalakshmi, the elder daughter of Geetha and Late Saravana, hailing from Ramanagara faced a lot of hardships since her childhood days. Her mother works as a daily wage labourer earning Rs300 a day. Recollecting her journey she reflected, “I think it is when my father passed away, I heard my relatives saying how will mother raise two children without a man’s support? My mother was very strong and willing to give a good life to both of us. With Sikshana’s help, I completed my schooling from Government Girls High School, Ramanagara in 2015 scoring 78 per cent. Then, with Sikshana’s financial support, I was able to complete my diploma in Computer Science. I also received a Dell laptop in 2016 to help me with my courses and after finishing my course, I applied for a job in Sikshana Foundation and have been working as Junior Tech Mentor since August 2018 implementing STEP and helping hundreds of students acquire ICT skills. My mother was my only support and now she is extremely proud of me. I want to do well in my career and give everything to my mother. I am focused on my work and learning. I am also learning how to manage money and time. I see myself working in a software company in the next five years. I thank Sikshana Foundation and Dell. I feel good now and life seems normal. I have no words to express my gratitude.”

Having successfully implemented the prototype, Prerana was presented to the Government of Karnataka (GoK) for implementation across the State. The GoK having recognised the impact in these schools signed an MoU with Sikshana Foundation on 13th September 2017 to scale and sustain Prerana across all the Government primary schools in the State. Dell has been Sikshana’s ‘Technology Partner’ for the state-wide rollout of Prerana programme in all the 43,897 Government Primary schools in Karnataka impacting over 27 lakh students. GoK will provide the low-cost motivational inputs created by Sikshana Foundation and Sikshana will provide the necessary resources to the Dept. for knowledge transfer in implementing Prerana along with its monitoring to measure and report the effectiveness of the programme across the State during this three-year programme that will conclude in 2020.

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