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Online math education for Ajab, Gujarat

By Murray Bourne, 26 Nov 2012

Chiman Delwadia was born in a small Indian village in Gujurat, India, and moved to the US in the late 1970s. He now works as an engineer for a power company in the Southern US.

When he visits his home town, it concerns him that the quality of government education is quite poor. It is very hard for people there to move out of the poverty trap.

So Chiman set about to help his former village, by teaching the children math using online tools.

Ajab, Gujurat is a small town in the far North-west of India, around 700 km from Mumbai and fairly close to the border with Pakistan.

Ajab map

This town of just 8,000 people is surrounded by a vast rural hinterland:

Ajab detail

Chiman teaches remotely from Alabama, where he now lives. He and a small team use Web conferencing 3 times a week to help the students in Ajab with their math and science questions.

Students from grades 7 to 9 enthusiastically arrive at school at 7:00 am to enjoy the Web-based lessons. They also get exposure to English through this collaboration.

Here is a short article in The Times of India about this project:

Ajab story: Online classes in Gujarat village

Such education is vitally important to the rural poor in developing countries like India.

There's an opportunity here for anyone who knows math (or any other junior high subject) to help out by providing lessons every now and then. It's a great way to give back to the World community.

Here are some details provided by Chiman about his "eEducation Project":

Vision: Every boy and girl deserves an opportunity to get a quality education so he
or she can live happy and productive life (borrowed from Bill Gates).

Mission: To build learning centers to provide free quality education for students
of low income families (In India, there is a free education but it is not quality
education and there is a quality education but it is not free).

What we have done so far?

  1. In year 2010, we have started to teach math and science classes to the 8th grade students of a remote village in India from Birmingham, Alabama,
  2. We have installed web conferencing software and a web camera on the school computer.
  3. We have also hooked up that computer with a big screen TV monitor
    so students can see the presentation made from the teacher’s desktop
    computer in USA.
  4. We have provided a wireless microphone to the students so they can ask questions to the teacher.
  5. We have also provided a small writing board so the students can write answers on it and point to the web camera.
  6. It was a live and interactive class. The students loved it and it was a very exciting and successful beginning.
  7. We taught the same students for two years.
  8. This year, we have picked up a 7th grade class and started teaching them math, science and English subjects.

I know from my own experience how incredidbly fulfilling it is to do volunteer teaching in developing countries.

If you are interested to help Chiman, let me know in the Comments and I'll pass it on.

See the 10 Comments below.

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  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
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    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

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