Published: 29th May 2017
Setting up smart classes in Government Schools? Well, that's exactly what S Dhilip did
S Dhilip talks about how he has been systematically taking technology to government school students and how he is training teachers to help students better
The fact that his father was a teacher and he wished the same dream for his son, was enough to send S Dhilip running for the hills — far away from becoming a teacher. But as fate would have it, the 37-year-old eventually realized that there was no other profession that he could do more justice to than teaching.
In spite of his father’s wishes for him to become a teacher, Dhilip went ahead and applied to an engineering college. “I even got a seat in a college in Bengaluru. When I told my father about it, he requested that I first do my teacher training and then pursue engineering if I felt like it. So I did my training and was immediately placed in a teaching position. That’s when I decided to continue down this path,” he says. Dhilip’s first job involved a long, time-consuming journey — three buses and a three-kilometre walk to the school, and it left him with very little time to interact or do much with his students.
Hailing from a family of teachers who set-up a school all the way back in 1923 in his hometown of Viluppuram, it’s quite natural for Dhilip’s father to presume that his son too would take up the same. But Dhilip had his heart set on another dream — to become a software engineer
But two years later in 2003, Dhilip was placed in the Government Higher Secondary School in the Sathyamangalam village of the Gingee Taluk.
This time he had the chance to integrate his software dream into his teaching methodology. He believes that government school students too deserve to learn about and gain access to computers, but unfortunately, the school was not privileged enough to afford one. So the once reluctant teacher did what was in his power to help his students — he brought his own computer to school to introduce them to the world of technology.
About twice a month, I would carry my computer to school so that the children could learn the basics — like using Microsoft Word and Paint and using the calculator — and also integrate this learning with the core subjects they were learning
Dhilip Teacher, Government Higher Secondary School, Gingee Taluk
In 2007, the government set-up two more computers in the school for the students of classes I to VIII. In 2011, Dhilip took his initiative to the next level and set-up Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) classes, and also developed a system where the students would be trained to teach other students as well. “It was not easy because the students were also busy with their regular classes,” he explains.
ICT smart classes: Dhilip received National Award for bringing smart classes to Government schools
Dhilip soon received a National Award from the President of India for starting these ICT smart classes for government school students. “I put together about 180 Android apps which would be helpful to both teachers and students. These apps help with proper pronunciation, speech, and learning. I then record this information and transfer it to iPods,” says Dhilip, who buys a number of locally-made iPods available for prices as low as `100 and then distributes them to the students.
This teacher’s focus though is not just to teach students, but to also improve the skills of teachers. His new project involves training 15,000 teachers in ICT across the state. “My aim for the country is that we reach a stage where there will not be a single classroom anywhere in the country that doesn’t have access to technology,” he states vehemently.