Computer Literacy Program for the Underprivileged (CLP), USA, formerly known as Volunteer Association of Bangladesh- New Jersey (VAB-NJ) passed 11 years of dedication, hard work, service, accomplishments and excitement in running Computer Learning Centers (CLCs) to develop a model for computer literacy of the underprivileged youths in rural Bangladesh. The first step in fostering computer literacy was to make computers and hands-on computer training available to students. Every computer lab is equipped with a minimum of four computers, one printer, other accessories and requisite furniture. Internet connection, where network available, was later added to this basic package. Students in a batch of 8 receive 40 hours of hands-on training in basic computer operation, Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheet and Paint programs, and the use of Internet. As of March 2015, 257 CLCs and 97 Associate CLCs have been established in 56 districts, 512 teachers (20% female) were trained for CLCs operations. With a view to offering program success, a careful consideration was given to geographical location, availability of electricity, interest of the school management and its willingness to help. In consultation with prominent computer scientists and educators in Bangladesh an introductory curriculum was developed. Based on that curriculum consecutively three editions of a student’s manual, “Esho Computer Shikhi” (Let Us Learn Computers) in Bengali was published. Every student receives a copy of the manual at a nominal cost. Two teachers from each CLC receive two weeks of intensive training from Dnet professionals in Dhaka. The teachers were also provided with complete “Teachers Manual” so that upon their return they can facilitate the students to meeting the estimated excellence of teaching-learning. From now on, Kite Bangladesh, a sister concern of Dnet is more focused on maintaining the current established CLCs, and incepting new ones to help develop students in rural arenas with Digital Literacy.
SCR (Smart Classroom)
The SCR (Smart Classroom) program is a novel concept that Computer Literacy Program for the Underprivileged (CLP), formerly known as Volunteer Association of Bangladesh- New Jersey (VAB-NJ) and Dnet had launched in the 2010. In a SCR students learn from educational CDs and Internet, where available, using a laptop and a widescreen monitor in the classroom. Four different subject teachers from each school under the program are first trained on the basics of computer, browsing the internet and orientation of CD-based multimedia contents for academic purposes. The initial focus is on teaching of English, Mathematics, General Science and Geography. After successful completion of the training each school received a laptop and LCD television for visualization of the respective lessons. The SCR Program has already been implemented under the Public Private Partnership initiative of the Government of Bangladesh. The PPP Initiative culminated in the establishment of 30 SCRs in 2011, further 30 in 2012 and 40 in 2013. Subsequently, British Council in Dhaka sponsored 50 SCRs and 3 more were sponsored solely by individual donors. The total of 158 SCRs spread over 43 districts of Bangladesh. The interventions supported a paradigm shift from traditional “teaching by telling” to “distributed learning” that ultimately enables “learning by doing.” Consequent active participation promotes superior assimilation. At this moment, after acquiring such successes through the SCR initiatives, and getting acknowledged of the needs for effective multi-media contents to achieve sustainable learning, an exploration of further value from SCR will be focused by CLP, USA and its Bangladesh partner, Kite Bangladesh, a sister concern of Dnet.