With the use of technology at a sudden surge and innovations unfolding every minute, having access to and being familiar with digital tools has become a prerequisite for any career choice. To equip under-resourced children with the necessary skills for the future, Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, is partnering with Ciena (NYSE: CIEN) to establish new Digital Classrooms and Advanced Technology Labs programs in Punjab and Haryana. Through its Digital Inclusion program, Ciena will provide the technology and resources to hire local trainers, to be rolled out before the April 2021 school session resumes.
For young students in rural communities to gain greater exposure to digital learning, the inaugural Digital Classrooms project will use educational technology and devices provided by Ciena to support teaching sessions at 10 primary and elementary Satya Bharti schools in Punjab and Haryana. This arrangement will help to ensure classrooms have the latest technology available so that students can build computer skills and be exposed to more immersive learning opportunities.
The Advanced Technology Labs program will give students a hands-on experience with robotics and gaming at two Satya Bharti Adarsh Senior Secondary Schools in Punjab. Ciena will provide 3D modeling kits and printers, laptops, and resources to hire trainers. This will give students preparing for college or others looking to move directly into a career in technology the ability to develop analytical, problem-solving, and decision-making skills while exercising creativity and teamwork.
Mr. Ryan Perera, Vice President and Country Head, Ciena India said,“There are many gaps in the skills and tools students in rural communities need to succeed and thrive in a digital world. Ciena’s Digital Inclusion program is committed to fostering digital inclusion and expanding opportunities for under-resourced students in our communities. Together with the Bharti Foundation, we are creating a more tech-savvy learning atmosphere to inspire students as they pursue limitless opportunities.”
Speaking on the partnership, Ms. Mamta Saikia, CEO, Bharti Foundation said, “It has been Bharti Foundation’s continuous endeavor to support holistic and quality education. We strongly believe that every student should be equipped, inspired, and empowered to pursue their passion. The Advanced Technology Labs which will be developed with Ciena’s support will give exposure of Robotics, block based programming and 3D printing. It is a need of the hour to integrate and embed courses that support science, mathematics and computer skills for students into the very curriculum. Digital Classrooms will allow teachers to use interactive, multimedia content and educational apps in our classrooms. We look forward to working with Ciena to achieve these objectives.“
About Bharti Foundation
Bharti Foundation was set up in the year 2000 as the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises. It implements and supports programs in primary, secondary and higher education as well as sanitation. Since 2006, the flagship Satya Bharti School Program has been providing free quality education to thousands of underprivileged children in 183 schools in rural areas across six states, with a focus on the girl child. The impact of quality education has been scaled-up by transferring the learning and good practices of this program to 2,35,440 students studying in 802 partner government schools across 14 states and union territories, through the Satya Bharti Quality Support Program, since 2013. Satya Bharti Abhiyan, the sanitation initiative started in 2014, has benefitted 1,86,461 beneficiaries by improving sanitation conditions in the districts of Punjab, providing access to toilets and by fostering behavioral change in communities. Together, these programs have cumulatively impacted over 2 million community members.
Ciena’s Digital Inclusion Program
Ciena’s Digital Inclusion program aims to mobilize the company’s global workforce, leverage its innovation leadership, and collaborate with customers, suppliers and other partners to bridge the digital divide. Ciena has committed to fund $10 million (USD) over a five-year period on programming that promotes digital inclusion through greater connectivity, access to technology and digital skilling, with a goal of expanding opportunities for 100,000 underserved students in our global communities.