For some time, the principal of the Boys’ HS School has been asking us to bring him a Michael Jackson CD. When we finally did, the teachers at the school immediately plugged it into a computer and couldn’t take their eyes off the (admittedly pretty great) Thriller video. I’ll have pictures for you as soon as I track down a card reader, because it’s really fun to think of a song from 1984 reaching a new audience more than 25 years later in 2011.
Our other plans haven’t been going quite so well. The UPS that arrived at the beginning of December was in fact delivered by mistake. It was intended for a middle school in Bijawar. We’re back to square one, essentially. We now have to buy individual UPS units for each computer at the school, which is a long process – we started thinking about this in July. I hope we can get the equipment and set it all up before we leave. I think the teacher is itching to start classes (and get paid for it!) again.
We’re also trying to set up a similar computer literacy program at the Girls’ HS School, but the principal has asked us to get permission from the District Collector and/or the District Education Officer (DEO) in Chhatarpur. We tried to meet with the Collector last Thursday, but he was out meeting with other people. We finally managed to get a few minutes with the district’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who seems pretty nice and friendly. She gave us an appointment to speak with her again tomorrow (Monday). Since we’ll be in Chhatarpur anyway, we’ll try to meet with the Collector as well.
Our other plan is to try a computer education program at one of the co-ed middle schools in Bijawar, where the administration and teachers seem really into it – something which we haven’t always found to be the case in government schools. My main concern was English language skills; if the high school students struggle with the English required to run a computer, then middle school kids will be even less able to manage it. Eighth graders students, however, are at basically the same level as ninth graders, so we might be able to start there. We’re also thinking of recruiting an English teacher to co-teach with a computer teacher, so that the kids can get good explanations of words they don’t understand.
…which brings me to the next item. We’re thinking again about ways to supplement the English education here, which suffers from a lack of teacher expertise. We met with the English teacher at the Girls’ HS School yesterday to brainstorm areas which he thinks he needs help with, and we’re hoping to meet with a group of middle and high school English teachers today to continue that planning.