We’ve come two decades into the 21st century, yet alarmingly, a report by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) shows that there has been a 50% rise in the number of child marriage cases.
When 2020 poured tough times on everyone, the underprivileged children were most impacted, especially the girls. Losing their safe spaces at schools, many children were prone to child-related crimes. While UNICEF predicted that 160 million children were to fall prey to child labour in 2020, the risks were far more for girl children. Child marriage became the next best thing for their caregivers, and their own voices had little to no role in their lives.
Despite millions of girls being at risk, their empowerment is not a lost cause. Many individuals and organisations are striving to make a change, and give girls a chance at a better life.
To extend that hope for underprivileged girls from across India, the Michael and John Job Centre (MJC) for Academic Excellence was established in 2001. The Coimbatore-based organisation runs with the purpose of empowering the lives of girl children to make them responsible citizens of tomorrow.
Over the span of 20 years, MJC’s campus has witnessed the growth of its numerous institutions – a K-12 school affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Higher Secondary board; an Arts, Science, and Commerce College, affiliated to the Bharatiyar University; a teacher training college with the B.Ed and M.Ed courses.
“We also have a hostel facility for girls studying in the institutions. The MJC administration supports all the girl children living in the hostel. About 275 students reside in the hostel, while the rest of them are day scholars,” says Mathew VF, a member of the Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) at MJC.
The campus has about 1,500 students coming from about 15 states, making it a hub of diverse cultures, languages, and practices. Apart from education, MJC also facilitates co-curricular activities like sports, baking, grooming, art and craft, jewellery making, among others.
“Each of us is here to handhold the children and pave the way ahead for them so that they can live their lives in the best way possible,” Mathew says.
Introducing Digital Education
The school, also known as, Michael Job Memorial Higher Secondary School (MJMHSS) introduced the Government of India’s DIKSHA content to the students, which kickstarted digital learning at the institution. Soon, with the help of many sponsors, MJC was able to set up five interactive smart classrooms.
“With the help of the projectors and the smart boards, we’ve been able to cast the digital content, and take the classes for our students. The tools have been very useful in making the classrooms more engaging,” says Anitha N, Principal, MJMHSS.
In fact, with the help of an NGO in Bangalore, about 18 teachers of MJMHSS were trained in making digital content by themselves. With the help of the existing digital content, some of the teachers have been breaking down concepts and making new content, based on the age groups of their students.
A Step Further with BYJU’S Education for All
During the pandemic, MJC arranged devices for many students to learn from when the lockdown was imposed. However, the school students are generally not allowed to use phones on campus. Instead, these students used the Google Classrooms called Vidyartha, a partnership between Google and BYJU’S to enrich the learning experience.
Through the Vidyartha programme, the day scholars received the licenses for the Think & Learn Premium Content. On the other hand, the hostel children access the content through the smart classrooms during the day and through the computers in the hostel after school.
“All the children have access to the programme through the email IDs we have created for them. They can access this either at home or in their classrooms. The teachers also clarify their doubts based on the content during the classes,” says Anitha.
As a practice now, the blackboards are sidelined, the smart boards have more prominence, so that the children can have an interactive learning experience
“The BYJU’S App has very curated and professional content, which is being actively used in our smart classrooms,” says Mathew.
BYJU’S EFA is reaching out to underprivileged children across India. Through the BYJU’S Give programme, you can contribute to this mission and help children with quality digital learning. You can donate an old device, which we will refurbish, and then use the money raised to buy a new device. In case you do not have a device, you can also donate to an NGO partner, who will use the money to buy devices for children.
In both cases, we will load our BYJU’S learning content onto these devices and distribute them to children in need.
Every girl child has the right to choose; she has the right to make her own life choices. Not marriage, not family, not society – nothing should stand in her way.
With every girl we help educate, we help make a difference, building the steps to an equal, inclusive future.
Anju is a peace-lover, a video-game addict, and a childhood doodler who imagined that the scribbles were words. This storyteller enjoys a good read, some doodling, and learning new languages. One day, she hopes to write her own story someday, and hopefully in the French language, too! She never loses hope of making the world a better place to live in.
Arya C is a 4th grader who talks about her transition from the US to India and how BYJU`S has helped her at that. She also loves how BYJU`S has made learning a lot more fun.
Meet Sourabh who has a ton to say about his BYJU`S learning experience. His love for quizzes, games and other fun activities are paying off!
V Shriya is a class eight student who has been using BYJU’S for a year now. She shares her experiences with using the app and how it has helped her in improving her academic performance.