What are we doing…
The goal of the Computer Literacy Program (CLP) is to promote the knowledge and usage of computers among the underprivileged youths in Bangladesh. This program, undertaken by the New Jersey Chapter of the Volunteers Association for Bangladesh (VAB-NJ), intends to foster computer literacy by making personal computers (PCs) and basic computer training accessible to the needy youngsters in Bangladesh.
Service to be Provided …
We have established 210 Computer and IT Literacy Center (CLCs) and 92 Associate Centers in selected rural areas of 56 districts in Bangladesh, we provide four laptop computers, one printer, four UPSs, two teachers trained, four site visits for facilitation, teacher’s incentive stipend, Taka 1000 per teacher and Taka 200 per student assistant after completing each batch of training, hardware maintenance, and internet with one year subscription fees. Students in a batch of 8-10 complete a 40 hours hands on structured training (free of charge) over an four-weeks period to graduate from the program. To continue maintenance service after the first year we will request $300 per year.
In 2010, we have introduced Smart Class Room (SCR) concept under Public Private Partnership Initiative (PPPI), intends to bring the educational opportunities provided by advances in personal computers, Internet, educational CDs, and ICT-based interactive learning materials to secondary school students in rural Bangladesh. Over three years 100 SCRs will be established. The SCR is a new initiative that will build on the skills in computer literacy, leverage the resources of a CLC, and add a large screen monitor for the entire class. In a SCR, students will learn through the use of interactive educational CDs and the Internet. Every SCR is equipped with a laptop (with solar power operation option), a large screen monitor and interactive CDs. The students learn using these educational CDs and the Internet. Initial focus is on English, Geometry, Algebra, Science, and Geography. These audio-visual and interactive learning materials will enhance students’ learning experience, and serve as useful tools for teachers. As of June 2012, 70 SCR has been established and 280 teachers were trained.
The PPPI offers a unique opportunity to sponsor a SCR, a CLC, or a combined SCR and a CLC at only 30% of the total cost. The total cost for establishing a CLC is $6,087 (sponsor pays $1,900), a SCR in an existing CLC is $3,988 (sponsor pays $1,100), and CLC with SCR is $10,075 (sponsor pays $3,000) or equivalent Taka in Bangladesh.
Why we are doing it…
Computer is a key educational tool of the information age. While almost every home in the developed world has at least one personal computer, disadvantaged students in rural Bangladesh often have no access to a computer. The gap in available opportunities between a student in rural Bangladesh and one in a developed nation thus keeps on increasing.
Experiences of computer learning in successful developing nations demonstrate that this ‘digital divide’ is more amenable to remedy than many other disparities. What is even more encouraging is that a proper computer education can create a robust workforce capable of exploiting the global opportunities provided by the information technology for local economic development. It is crucial that underprivileged students in Bangladesh receive proper computer training that will enable them to seize the worldwide information technology opportunities.
The Computer Literacy Program is a useful step in that direction. Over the past five years, VAB-NJ has been operating several computer-training centers in rural Bangladesh. CLP builds on that experience, and expands the scope of the effort to include underprivileged students. The premise is that basic computer training in the middle and high school years will go a long way in alleviating their “fear” of computers, and help prepare them for using this essential tool effectively in the workplace.
How we are organized …
The New Jersey Chapter of the Volunteers Association for Bangladesh (VAB-NJ) administers the Computer Literacy Program. VAB, a non-profit US organization is devoted to mobilizing funds and resources to support educational services for underprivileged students in Bangladesh. VAB supports school development activities to ensure quality education and provide scholarships to enhance access to education. VAB-NJ works with D.Net, a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Bangladesh for implementation of its CLP activities there.
How we implement…
VAB-NJ undertakes the following activities to realize the CLP goal:
• Raise funds from individuals and organizations.
• Provide PCs for distribution to Bangladesh
• Develop a computer literacy curriculum in consultation with experts in Bangladesh.
• Provide vision and funds for project implementation.
D.Net, the CLP partner in Bangladesh
• Maintains and inventory of working computers provided by VAB-NJ
• Selects schools and learning centers in the underprivileged areas jointly with VAB-NJ and provides four PCs to every selected institution.
• Provides requisite training to designated instructor(s) from the recipient institutions.
• Provides maintenance service and technical assistance to the recipient institutions.
• Facilitates implementation of the CLP program and monitors progress through periodic site visits.
How you can participate…
CLP activities are funded primarily through voluntary contributions from individuals and institutions. We need your help and support for the success of the program. You can contribute in one or more of the following ways:
• Adopt a new Computer Literacy Center (CLC) or a Smart Class Room in existing CLC of your own choice and geographical location by making a one- time US tax-deductible contribution mentioned above. To continue maintenance service after the first year we will request $300 per year.
• Donate generously to the CLP fund. We accept any amount and will provide you a receipt for tax purposes.
• Tell a friend or family about us and to participate in this cause.
• Financial contributions to VAB (US IRS Tax Exempt Identification #13-40345501) are tax deductible, and may be sent either electronically to the VAB-Computer Literacy Program account (Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, Account #: 481500818765; ABA #: 021000021), or by mailing a check payable to: “VAB-Computer Literacy Program” to the VAB-NJ address listed below:
6 Tharp Lane
Marlboro, NJ 07746, USA