Today we visited the girls’ high school (above), which used to be the boys’ middle school that my dad attended. We met with some teachers and administrators who again mentioned that the school will be receiving 15-25 computers (the exact number seems to vary depending on who we talk to) from the government in April. There doesn’t seem to be much of a plan in place to bring new computer teachers or train existing ones. As far as the government goes, the actions of providing the computers and providing the teachers aren’t as connected as they should be. If the government manages to supply the funds, some people think that the teachers might be sent to Gwalior for some training. I’m worried that the computers will arrive, ready to be used, and there won’t be anyone to teach the students. This concern seems to be shared by many other people we’ve talked to in Bijawar.

There is one computer, connected to the Internet through a landline, in the principal’s office being used for administrative purposes. Theoretically, this landline will also provide connectivity to the other computers expected in April. The school received more computers about five or six years ago from a nearby university, but they were never used. At one point, the school hired someone to fix something that had gone wrong, but the supposed repairmen stole all of the good computer parts and replaced them with things that didn’t work. The computers have since been discarded.

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One of the teachers mentioned that many of the other teachers are simply not interested in using their positions to help the village or the children past what they absolutely have to do. This attitude isn’t particularly special to Bijawar, or to small towns, or even to India – schools and students everywhere have a hard time finding and keeping engaged teachers.

In the evening, we worked with the four government school teachers: Divya, Kalpana, Menka, and Neha. It’s gratifying to see that they’re starting to understand how to effectively use the mouse to select blocks of text and apply some formatting, which means that they’re picking things up pretty quickly! We asked them to bring some of their lesson plans, notes, gradebooks, and things like that tomorrow, so that we can get a sense of how we can relate the skills they’re learning to their work.