March 26, 2011
School of Arts & Sciences, Mysore
Most college students engage themselves on gmail or facebook during their free hours. But not Rakesh M.V., Shivkumar A. S., Koushik K. S., Prabhu Kumar P., Sai Sharan R., Selva P., Bikram Singh, Sibananda Sharma, Manu Bhargav, Umaa R. and Sumana Mandal from the Amrita School of Arts and Sciences in Mysore.
Since January, these students enrolled in the Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) degree program, have dedicated their free time to imparting basic computer knowledge and skills to rural students studying in government schools in and around Mysore.
“I was inspired when, during a bus ride, a curious child asked me about my laptop computer,” shared the leader of this initiative, Rakesh M. V. “After giving the boy some guidance on how to use the computer, I was amazed to see how quickly he picked up the necessary skills.”
Eventually this led to the beginnings of a course titled Computer Saplings (v 1.0). “The course title itself indicates that students will be learning the basics,” stated Rakesh. “Our goal is to create an environment of technical awareness and motivation for each and every individual sapling ie student.”
The first course introduced on January 22 in the Chamundi Hills residential government school included theory classes, practical sessions and interactive exercises.
The BCA students divided into four imaginatively named teams covered the basics of computer concepts and internet usage.
Team Techno Gadget instructed in basics such as using the internet, USB and hardware tools. Team Techno Craft provided lessons in painting, Word Pad and multimedia. Techno Meridian focused on images, music and slide shows while Techno Explorer supplemented with additional elementary skills.
The team has now completed classes in nine schools; the goal is to serve a total of at least 25 schools by July-end. Team members pay for their own travel expenses to the schools and they do not accept any money for coaching and teaching.
The students spend at least five hours at the school, usually during the weekends or holidays.
“On some occasions, the school authorities have asked us to extend the time for instruction,” proudly stated Rakesh.
Focusing also on alternative schools such as Kaliyuva Mane, the students are conducting workshops and inviting them to be part of the initiative and spread the good work.
“As of now, there are 17 members on our team. We are planning to conduct classes during summer vacations. Right now all are busy with upcoming semester exams but we hope to cover more schools in April and May,” said one of the team members.
The team also plans to teach HTML and Photoshop in future classes. Passion for their splendid dream is the driving force for these tech-savvy students who have started on a remarkable journey to serve society.