Monday, July 16

Punjab! Balle! Balle!

Rashi and I came back from Punjab a few days ago. So what did we do?
...We went to the 4-5 government schools in Fatehgarh District where we have our Learning Stations
...We took 2 photographers so we can make a DVD showing the impact of the computers on the children and the community
...We stayed out in the sun all day from 7 AM to 7 PM...
...We stayed in a room that cost us Rs. 250 per night...
...We ate some delicious dhaba food...had lassi...
...We went to the famous Fatehgarh Sahib Gurdwara
...We went house to house to speak to parents about their views about computers

In short, we had a blast!

I was quite impressed with Punjab. Compared to some of the other states I've been to, the villages or 'pinds' are quite rich. There didn't seem to be extreme poverty anywhere. Everyone seemed fed. I saw houses in the villages that are hard to come by even in South Delhi.

Another thing about Punjab that impressed me was the money the government is trying to pump into the schools. They are trying to get a computer lab in all government school in the future. Now how long that will take depends. But all the government high schools already have them.

There were other initiatives the government had rolled out. But unfortunately its one of those tihngs - the intentions are good but the money is really just being wasted. Inefficiency at your best. I've already written a blog previously about a government encounter I had and the disbelief with which I had left. Well Punjab did the same thing to me. But won't get into the details of it. What's the point.

As good as the trip was I also left with a very sick feeling. Punjab is one of India's richest states. And even after spending a sizable amount of money on education, we came across uncountable number of children who were in 6th grade and couldn't even write their name in any language be it Punjabi, Hindi, or English. It leaves you with a feeling of despair and helplessness.

And then I was disappointed in the impact we were having so far. The positives of having the computers were definitely there. But I wasn't quite happy with the degree of impact. Going to Punjab was a fruitful experience. I found out more about our inefficiencies and where we are lacking. Now that we're back in our cubicles, it's time to make the necessary changes.

~ Raina


Rhapsoder said...

Well, it can be a frustrating experience.. trying to change the culture of any place.

Hats off to you guys. Keep at it.. You guys will definitely make an impact!

Piyush said...

Change needs to be brought about here in this country which is often run by ........ (don't want to get there).

I believe that education is the only medium that will bridge the inequality gap that lies in this country. We need our future leaders to be educated and to understand how everything is interlinked.

PrajK said...

Keep your hopes up and don't get disillusioned! Your work sounds really cool.

Question: why do you think it's important to spend money on computers in schools as opposed to better teachers, books, etc?