Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Visit to Katha, a NGO working among children from Govindpuri slum

Katha engages in translation of literary works written in regional language. Katha has a publishing house, which is situated in Sarvodaya Enclave. Katha imparts computer education to children from slums. Initially, the children could not read and write English. Katha's school in Govindpuri started imparting computer training in mid-1990s. The name of the Vice-Principal of Katha Khazana, which is situated in Govindpuri, is Ms. Deepti. Katha has a staff size of 50 in the area of publishing. Katha's entire staff strength is 150. Katha is working with under-priviledged students since the year 1990. In 1990, Katha started working with 5 children. There is a health magazine of Katha named TAMASHA. Katha works with children who are not going to school. Earlier children in Govindpuri were not going to school. TAMASHA helped children to get attracted to school. Geeta was the main person behind Katha's initiative. Around 1300 children are involved with Katha. There are 10 new schools of Katha, which have come up for street children. Katha has a partnership with British Telecom. Govindpuri school has a good curriculum. Prof. Krishna Kumar from NCERT has said that Katha's school is innovative. After Katha started its school in Govindpuri, the attendance of children in Katha's school has went up to 87% and the drop-out rate came down to 0.4 percent. Students who are coming to Katha Khazana are from the age group (0-14) years. Katha is also imparting early childhood education (ECE). Katha engages with working women. When Intel was engaged with Katha, children from Katha's Govindpuri school used to visit Boston as a part of exposure trip. Katha has also worked with MIT Media Lab. Now, British Telecom (BT), is working with the Katha school (Katha Khazana) in Govindpuri. Katha is associated with BT since 2001. The fees for the IT professional package is affordable (which is INR 300/ student/ month).
The address of Katha's main office:
A 3, Sarvodaya Enclave
Aurobindo Marg, Near IIT Delhi flyover

The address for the Katha school, Govindpuri:
Katha Khazana
Bhomiheen Camp
Govindpuri, Kalkaji Extension
Contact No: 9213375910 (Ms. Shailender)

There are two courses on IT training which is offered by Katha.

Basic course
Hindi and English text typing.
Internet browsing and surfing.
Personality development (English speaking classes)
MS-Office package-WORD, Excel and Power Point.

Advance course
Design (DTP, web-designing, Tally, Access)--Illustrator Flash (for embroidery)
Programming, not much in demand.

Minimum qualification for attending the above two courses are: Class X pass
There are two more programmes of Katha i.e. Maa Mandal and Balika Mandal. Women who have never been to school, come for these two programmes. No fees are charged for computer learning in such cases. Computer education is imparted as per the requirement and need of the learner. There are 7 staffs in KITES (Katha Information Technology and E-commerce School). KITES also engages in career counseling. Katha is also engaged in a project on water supply and sanitation titled TRY, which is meant for accessing clean drinking water by the slum households. Only proprietary softwares are used in the computer learning such as Microsoft, Adobe, Corel etc.

The challenges that Katha faced initially are:
A lot of capacity-building was necessary to motivate and bring children for attending the Katha school. Earlier girl children were not attending the classes. But nowadays they are attending Katha's classes. Practical computer training is provided which helps in getting jobs. Children used to earlier perform household chores. But now they attend classes too. The problem of child labour has been solved to a certain extent due to Katha's intervention. Drop-out rates have come down. There are 4 separate batches for children for learning computers, which is based on their exposure to IT and their merit. Children are learning animation and multimedia. The Katha school has imparted informal education to drop outs so that they get admission in other schools (including the MCD school). Most of the children who learn computers in Katha are from Arts and Commerce background. Students from Science background do not come to Katha, as Katha do not have the required infrastructure for them.

IT Syllabus in Katha Khazana
I Semester
Computer Findamental
Windows 98, 2000 and XP
Control Panel Setting
Paint, Wordpad, Imaging
Hindi and English Touch Typing
MS Word, Excel, and Power Point
Internet, Email and Net surfing
II Semester
Desktop Publishing DTP
Corel Draw
Page Maker
Macromedia Flash
III Semester
Web designing
Dream Weaver
Basic Accounting

(Mr. Shambhu and Mr. Vignesh are working as Senior Research Associates with Centre for Science, Development and Media Studies, G 4, Sector 39, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India, PIN-201 301)


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