Learning from Bangladesh: Introducing digital education for Dalit children in India
Our digital education programme in Bangladesh is proving so successful that we are starting to replicate the model in India, where we support 35 learning centres, offering education to around 1000 Dalit children. Read on to find out more about this exciting development.
In October 2022, staff from our partner organisation in India, NESWSD, travelled to Bangladesh to meet our partners, Mukti Cox’s Bazar. They wanted to find out more about the digital education Mukti provides for over 9,000 children and see first hand how much of a positive impact it has, so they can deliver digital lessons with the same success in India.
Digital learning in Bangladesh
Over the last year , we have supported 194 classrooms for over 9,000 children. These include Rohingya refugee children living both in Kutupalong refugee camp and on Bhasan Char Island as well as slum dwelling children living in Cox’s Bazar and the Doharazi Enclaves.
To enhance learning and engage the children, daily digital lessons are projected onto screens in each classroom we support.
For Rohingya refugee children living in Kutupalong, the worlds’ largest refugee camp, these digital lessons are produced in a language they understand, enabling the children to genuinely comprehend what they are being taught and actually learn. This technology also gives them the opportunity to experience something of life beyond the confines of the camp.
In addition to the digital lessons, the students have their own online platform, ‘Moja Kids’, where students create video updates to share back and forth with children outside the camps and slum communities where they live. This not only gives them a voice and a place to express their talents and creativity, but enables them to interact and tackle their sense of isolation.
Visit from Indian partners
To find out more about how the digital education programme in Bangladesh is run, staff from our partner organisation in India, NESWSD, recently visited our partners in Bangladesh, Mukti.
They were keen to learn from Mukti staff, share ideas, and watch the digital lessons in action, in order to be able to replicate the model back in India.
Sister Veena Jacob and Renji Joseph from NESWSD, travelled from Patna in India, to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in October, and were joined by our Asia Manager, John Littleton. Over the course of their short visit, they were taken to see our classrooms in Kutupalong refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar and the Doharazi enclaves.
Veena and Renji were able to meet with the Mukti’s digital team, who create a huge range of video lessons, and were able to see the green room used to make Moja Kids videos. They were taught the technical aspects of producing these videos, while staff from India joined the training virtually.
Whilst visiting the learning centres in Kutupalong, they shared videos prepared by children from the learning centres in India. These were hugely popular with the children in Bangladesh, who were keen to respond in kind with their own videos. The Bangladesh digital team has since included these videos from India in two new episodes of Moja Kids, which have been shown across the classrooms we support in Bangladesh.
Alongside learning about the digital programme, Veena and Renji saw how each learning centre in Bangladesh is filled with colourful decorations inside, and small gardens outside. Working in densely populated and cramped slum areas, they were inspired to see how making the classrooms beautiful for the children can be possible within very small spaces and with few resources.
The team was also interested to see that the children at our community schools are provided with school uniforms and bags, something they are keen to provide for the children at their learning centres in India.
Renji described the trip as “joyful, enriching and filled with learning”.
Introducing Digital Education in India
The 35 learning centres we support in India offer supplementary education, to prepare Dalit children to return to, or integrate into, local government schools. So, whilst the set up is different to Bangladesh, where the learning centres and community schools offer more formal education, there was still much to be learnt and the team is excited to introduce some new ideas and changes in India.
A new digital Team is gradually being recruited and they have already begun introducing digital lessons and using digital technology in the learning centres in Patna. Almost all the centres have now started using projectors and showing digital content to help deliver lessons.
Before the trip to Bangladesh, the team in India had eight projectors. These were being used to pilot digital lessons in eight learning centres. The teachers from these centres became 'pioneer' teachers to inspire the other teachers and centres and they began to rotate the projectors around the different learning centres.
The children responded with huge enthusiasm and it became a real attraction for lessons. So, after the trip to Bangladesh, the team sourced a further 20 projectors and trained 20 more teachers. 28 centres are now enjoying digital lessons and we hope to get all the learning centres on board soon.
The children have been shown some of the Moja Kids videos produced by the team in Bangladesh and they are keen to connect with other children around the world. They are excited to share their ideas and talents!
We’ll be sure to update you on the progress of the digital lessons in India, please keep an eye on our blog for the latest news.
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