Joda: Tata Steel Foundation, since 2018 has established six Community Education Resource Centres in Keonjhar district of Odisha to groom local talent. These centres have been pivotal in imparting basic knowledge about using computers, the internet and other e-resources to the youth across villages in Keonjhar. So far, over 344 local students have benefitted through these centres. All these centres have been set-up with the support of an NGO called ASPIRE, which helps with training and development of local resources.
Udipti Nayak, a local from Deojhar village who is currently working as the facilitator at one of these Community Education Research Centre says, “Since the establishment of these centres, we have seen a lot of interest not only from kids but also from senior citizens to learn computer skills. The training we provide here has accelerated the growth of local youth and has groomed them to pursue higher studies.” Currently, these centres provide a 6-month long Post Graduate Diploma course in Computer Applications. The newest among these centres was inaugurated in Anseikela in November and will also provide a similar course. Other centres are situated in Kundurnala, Bhuyanroida, Jajang, Bolani and Deojhar villages in Joda block.
Moreover, these centres have high-tech equipment such as projectors, printers and laptops which can be used by the community for filling up online forms, availing government schemes or even applying to colleges and universities. The facilities in these centres are also used to screen movies and documentaries to sensitize the community on social issues. Activities based on art and crafts and basic science experiments are also conducted in these centres.
These centres form a major component of Tata Steel’s 1000 Schools Programme, which aims to create a model of Universalisation of Elementary Education (UEE) within the Right to Education (RTE) framework that is replicable and scalable. This programme was initiated in January 2015, to revitalize school education.