Neha LM Tripathi
A group of 11 teachers from Mumbai, who visited various schools in Nagaland for 10 days as part of a faculty exchange programme, returned on Tuesday with a fresh perspective of the northeastern state and with a plan to introduce the students there to computers.
They plan to gift computers to schools in Nagaland and call teachers from the state to the city to learn to operate the machines so they can teach their students.
The group, which consisted of 13 teachers in all, including two from Gujarat, were participating in the ‘People-to-People Programme for National Integration and Faculty Exchange Programme’, an initiative of Nagaland Governor P B Acharya and had reached the state on May 9. Some of the teachers from the group had also been called by CM Devendra Fadnavis for a meeting ahead of their departure.
The teachers, three of whom were from the Vidyanidhi group of institutes, four from the Gopal Sharma International School in Powai, four from other city schools and two from Gujarat, visited 26 schools and interacted with around 4,000 students from economically weak backgrounds and their families in Peren, Jalukie, Dimapur and Kohima.
Sanjeev Mantri, chairman of Upanagar Shikshan Mandal, which runs the Vidyanidhi group of institutes, and was among those who went to Nagaland, said, “The main aim was to create the possibility of exchange of ideas among the two states. More than teaching, the trip focused on building relationships with the students and various families.”
“In most of the schools, the teachers themselves hadn’t seen a computer and, hence, we have asked them to come to Mumbai, learn to operate computers and teach their students. We are working out plans of arranging not just computers but also computer classes as this is going to be a continuous process for us,” said Mantri.
Savita Thakur, director of Vidyanidhi Info Tech Academy (VITA), who was also part of the exchange, said, “Tourists visit just the popular places and not the rural, tribal areas. We interacted with students from Std V to VIII in Peren, Jalukie, Dimapur and Kohima. The trip made us understand their need for computer education.”
“The students showed keen interest in learning new things. The teachers were receptive and cooperative. But the lack of IT infrastructure in the schools needs to be addressed. We got a chance to learn about the culture, languages, folklore and music of Nagaland and will tell our students in Mumbai about it. We also shared the unique art, music and culture of Maharashtra, including Warli art, with the children of Nagaland,” she added.
The students from Nagaland also made greeting cards during the classes that were brought back to Mumbai by the teachers and have been sent out to prominent people across the country.
“The main aim behind this was to make the students feel special. When the replies to these greetings reach the maker, a line of communication will have been established and it will affect their approach towards the other states of the country.
We came up with the greeting card idea after we realised that this was the first ever time they were interacting with someone who wasn’t a local and that they were keen on knowing about people from other parts of the country,” said Nitin Gorule from Vidyanidhi school, who conducted art classes for the students, including one on Warli art.