• VADODARA: Gujarat government is gearing up to use Linux operating system in schools in the state, but a city-based foundation has been teaching use of this system to students in Karjan for the last one year now. Schools in this block of Vadodara district were given computers with Linux by the state government, but they did not have teachers acquainted with it. That’s when Cosmo Foundation (CF) extended a helping hand by providing teachers as well as teaching materials to schools in Karjan block.

    Presently, the foundation is working with six schools in Karjan to help students gain expertise in using Linux. They plan to extend the help to other schools in the block.

    “We were working in the block for the last two years with the aim to strengthen education in government grant-in-aid schools. When state government donated computers and Linux system to schools in Karjan in September most of the schools could not make use of it as they did not have computer teachers,” said programme co-ordinator Mamta Baxi from CF.

    CF worked to create a talent pool of teachers by training youngsters, who were conversant with computers. This was done to provide employment at local level instead of hiring others. “We also designed the curriculum, text books and educational material which could be used to teach students to operate Linux. On regular intervals, we also invite external experts to conduct special sessions with students,” added Baxi.

    To maintain quality of teaching, CF ensures that teachers maintain a logbook recording the portion covered by them in class. “Even students along with external expert assess the teachers to detect loopholes in teaching. Along with computer literacy, the foundation also helps students to gain fluency in English and Gujarati languages,” Baxi said.

    In fact, the computer literacy programme has brought in a positive trend in the block. The rate of absenteeism is reducing and literacy rate is up. “Two years ago, most of the students had not heard of or had ever touched computers. Now, these students can work on Linux and Microsoft systems. Computer literacy has made them confident and turned them into enthusiastic learners,” said the co-ordinator.