Children are Building the Future Today

Every morning, twelve year old Vidisha Rawat leaves her home in Farsula village, Dugadda and treks 35 minutes covering nine kilometers of twisting roads and high altitude trails in Uttarakhand to
to reach her government school in Dhobighat, Lansdowne.

“I enjoy learning when my teachers use the computer and projector,” says Vidisha. “My favorite subjects are math and science. With the help of the computer, I understand and remember fractions. I also learnt photosynthesis today in the science class and realized that even plants have a process to digest food!”

Her science teacher, Satish Chandra Goud, says assertively, “The Digital Equalizer way of teaching has not only made it easier for teachers to explain concepts in class, it has also encouraged the students to actively participate, interact with each other and the teacher, and satisfy their
curiosity levels.”

Students who attend Digital Equalizer schools not only increasingly utilize technology within their studies and project assignments, but also outside the classroom by stimulating their curiosity about the world and providing resources for them to explore their own interests. Parents see the visible results of higher grades, higher competencies, and valuable knowledge, and are increasingly supportive of keeping them in school.

Most of Uttarakhand is covered by forests and mountains, making connectivity and infrastructure support to schools a significant challenge. AIF is working to integrate the latest innovations in instructional pedagogy in order to keep ahead of emerging trends and ensure whole schools – and their teachers and students – are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and tools to be successful. To ensure that Digital Equalizer’s benefits reach as many students and teachers as possible, AIF partners with state governments to scale and sustain the work over the long term, building the capacity of local governments to embrace and provide technology as a means to instill a culture of engaged learning and innovation.

The walk downhill, after school is over, is easier for Vidisha. She rushes home to tell her mother Kanti that she learnt about photosynthesis in school. Her mother, recently widowed, says, “I want Vidisha to be financially independent, and not be like me. Ever since I lost my husband five months ago, I have had to depend on their paternal aunt in the big city to send us money.” Vidisha pays close attention to what her mother says and responds, “My father died because we couldn’t reach a hospital in time. I want to save lives. I will study to become a doctor.”

Drew Foxman

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