Whole world is on a Digital Journey. The interface in many transactions between Government, Banks, Schools, Hospitals, or other Institutions and an individual is now Internet. Very soon, all the transactions will be through Internet. If not acted now, many will be digitally handicapped with little or NO knowledge on information technology basics.
When we started conceptualizing the idea of For A Good Start and its offerings, software for NGOs and courses for school kids were on priority. Of course, we had an idea of launching a course for beginners in digital world on information technology basics, but it was in back burner.
Two friends of my mother approached her for a course on computers. The common chord that tied these three ladies were their passion to do social work in their spare time. Their kind of work doesn’t deal with software at all.
My mother was a central government employee and she was one among those who boycotted work for bringing in computers for work in late eighties. She got retired before the computerization, but after retirement, she attended a basic course on computer and was proud to claim that she sent emails to me when I was in US some 15 years ago. But according to my children, their grandmother knows nothing about computers, her on information technology basics are poor.
One of her friend who is interested is by profession a post office savings agent with many clients. The other friend is a home maker who has varied interests and hobbies, which include wine brewing & cake baking. The former has a problem that all the transactions in post office are automated and paper work is not there any more. The latter wants to try selling her wine and cake online.
I have an uncle who is a retired principal and a professor of economics. He is very passionate about his subject and he now teaches in a university as a guest faculty. But he calls himself a computer illiterate and so, he misses many a communication in the electronic media and have to work twice hard to get hold of the latest developments in economics.
Professor had spent around 30,000 rupees to attend a course on information technology basics. But, somehow it was a disaster. There are two versions on why he could not continue the course after 3 sessions. His version is that he could not follow the fast paced class. His wife’s version is that the young instructor could not tolerate him in the class. He wants a class from me on internet and e-mail. Another relative who is a retired banker also wanted to attend the class. He told me that he knows a bit on computers, but wants to learn more.
When we got 5 students, I needed the 6th student, who qualify “those who can transform our society”. For the 6th student, course is entirely free. Here, not much thinking was required as there is Prof. C Mamachan. I knew him from the time I was a kid. He was our Sunday School teacher. He helped us kids to find the answer to the riddle “Mahatma Gandhi is not a Christian. So, Will Mahatma Gandhi go to heaven?”. He is known to the outside world more as an activist than as a retired Malayalam professor. Nowadays, most of his time and money are spend on rehabilitating alcoholics. Due to his group’s intervention, more than 130 families are saved from the clutches of alcohol abuse.
His knowledge on computers is next to nothing. It became more clear when I approached him to join our class for free. He replied “All I know is computer is something that corrupts the youth”. I tried to reason with him about the class and computers, but he was not relenting since he does not have time other than his regular do or die kind of activities. He gave me a couple of leads to certain prospective clients. I will keep on trying till he agrees to attend at least a couple of sessions. His attendance is required to fulfill our vow to society.
We did a kick start for the information technology basics course for the prospective students to identify the areas they want to learn. Before this meeting, the Banker opted out of the class and decided to join the next batch due to some unexpected commitments.
During the kick start meeting, class identified the suitable slots for sessions and the topics to be taught. We planned for 5 consecutive mandatory sessions of 1 to 1.5 hours. We will also arrange 5 more sessions for those who want to carry what they learned to rest of their lives.
Classes slipped out of 1.5 hours’ window and 5 mandatory sessions became 7 sessions. It was a tremendous experience and learning for me, Shalini and Varun to be with the best people who juggled their daily affairs to learn a thing or two on Internet and computers.
On behalf of our four first students, Prof. Mathew Kurian, Ms. Shirley Rajan, Ms. Anila Joseph and Amma and my partners in arms – Shalini & Varun, I offer our course material “public” to all who wanted to be part of Digital India Journey. I hope this offering will also help us to be true to what we speak – to deliver value to society.
– Salil Rawji
Digital Me! Course Material can be accessed by clicking on IT Basics – Digital Me! hyper link in the Education Services section of our home page. This material covers the basics of Computer, Windows OS, Microsoft office, Internet, Gmail, Google Drive, YouTube and Blog. These topics are sufficient for a layman to start his Digital Journey.
For Beginners, it is is not a self study material. They can choose a computer literate facilitator to help them with the course. However, a computer semi-literate can use this material for self evaluation and further study.
For A Good Start teaches this course for a fees. We will tailor the material based on the needs of its students.