Young NIT Rourkela 2015 graduate Sai Prasanna Rath is using computers to empower teachers and complement classroom learning in rural Bihar.
As dawn breaks in the tiny district of Tajpur, its light illuminating the winding, dusty streets and modest houses, children gleefully prepare for a day of fun learning. Tightly clutching their school supplies in their tiny hands, they make their way to the Bherokhara Middle School. Winds of change have been blowing through the school – lessons these days are no longer restricted to the words of a textbook or the lectures of a teacher. No, lessons these days are about understanding the ‘why,’ ‘what’ and ‘how’ of things; about learning by doing and learning by teaching; about using the wonderful technology of computers to learn about the wonderful world around them.
This change in the teaching methodologies of the village school can be attributed to one young graduate and his desire to introduce rural children to computers: Sai Prasanna Rath.
Sai Rath graduated from NIT Rourkela, Odisha in 2015, with BTech and MTech degrees. While in college, he realised there were many drawbacks to the education system in India: “I found that our focus is always on theoretical concepts. We pay very little attention to practical application and because of that, there is just no link between our everyday life and what we are taught at school,” he says.
Sai was wondering how he could use his passion for computers to change the abysmal state of education in India, when he stumbled upon an article in The Better India about SBI Fellow Nupur Ghuliani: “I saw that through the Fellowship, Nupur was able to do a lot of good. While researching the Fellowship, I also learnt that they give us an opportunity to implement our own ideas. By doing so, we can also help local NGOs. I thought this would be the ideal opportunity for me,” recalls Sai.
Sai joined the Fellowship in August 2015, and began working with the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme India in the Pusa block of Samastipur district, Bihar.