Laptops herald change in Barabanki madarsas – Press Trust of India

14:42 HRS IST

Barabanki (UP), Aug 3 (PTI) For more than 50 years,
Madarsa Noorul Makatib was synonymous with traditional and
religious learning. But it all began to change in 2014 with
just six laptops opening a window to a wider world — and
resulting in fewer dropouts.

With the laptops providing internet connectivity to
students, there has been a paradigm shift, both in terms of
education being imparted and also student-teacher relations,
in the madarsa in Barabanki’s Tikaitganj area.

“It has really been a technical leap, as we have arrived
in the era of internet from the days of radio. It is really
nice to see that information technology is being used for
educational purposes and the best part is that the students
have welcomed it wholeheartedly,” said Mahmud-ul-Haque,
manager of the madarsa.

The agent of change was The Integrated approach to
Technology in Education (ITE), an initiative of the Tata

The dropout rate at the madarsa went down from 18 per
cent to 5 per cent, said ITE coordinator Swami Saran.

Madarsa Noorul Makatib is not the only to have benefited
from the programme, which has reached out to about 5,000
students in Islamic seminaries, mostly in West Bengal and
Uttar Pradesh, said Amina Charania, ITE head, Tata Trusts, and
associate professor of TISS.

Laptops had renewed children’s interest in school work,
said teachers at the Madarsa Ansar-ul-Uloom in Barabanki’s
Katra area. Attendance has surged.

“ITE as a teaching and learning tool came here about
two-three years ago. There has been a nearly 20 per cent surge
in attendance. Students are evincing interest in their
studies, parents are relieved and, most important, there has
been a significant improvement in the teacher-student
relationship,” said Mohd Naseer-ul-Haque Ansari, an
administrator at the madarsa.

He said students were eagerly waiting to go to Class 4 so
they could get to work with laptops and make projects. “There
has been a reduction in dropouts. Almost 80 per cent of
students who joined in Class 1 have gone to Class 5. And
children from other madarsas are coming here and seeking
admission because of laptops.”

On an average, one laptop is shared by four students,
said Charania, giving details of the project.

“ITE is an initiative of Tata Trusts, designed and
disseminated since 2012, reaching around 25,000 students all
over the country,” she added. These 25,000 students are spread
across learning centres, government schools and madarsas all
over India.

ITE fosters project-based learning to improve teaching
and learning through technology. Currently, 18 partners in
seven states implement ITE.

“For most children who had never seen a laptop, the
first-hand opportunity to use them for making projects
was certainly a special one,” said Saran.

“Gradually, they started evincing interest in learning
their routine lessons through computers. This eventually
nurtured their thinking and also inculcated the habit of
sharing among the students,” Saran added.

Students have been using the internet for various things
— to ascertain the distance between two places, dietary
components in their food, history and geography of their
native places, various prominent personalities and enhancing
their general knowledge.

Mavia Masood, a student at Noorul Mukatib, for instance,
said IT was helping them understand mathematical concepts.

“We first determined the area of the classroom, and then
the size of a particular tile, which will be put there. Then
using a spreadsheet, we divided both the areas, and it gave us
the number of tiles which will be put in the classroom,”
the Class 7 student said.

Students have also been using computers to make
powerpoint presentations on monuments. Others say they are
using the Internet and spreadsheet tools to make weather

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