BT has been supporting education in India since 2001. In 2006, we extended our community investment in India by sponsoring a second school in Pune alongside the opening of the St Crispin’s IT Training Centre. This investment in IT education and training is already making a real difference with many students securing well-paid employment or going on to higher education.
St Crispin’s is a registered charity in Pune providing a residential home and schooling for disadvantaged children in the region. The home houses 325 girls, most of whom are orphans or vulnerable ‘at risk’ children taken into care. Around 400 day students who reside in the surrounding shanty town – again predominantly girls – also attend the school.
The BT-funded IT Training Centre at St Crispin’s school was opened in April 2006. It comprises a laboratory with 28 state-of-the-art computers equipped with a wide range of application software and audio-visual teaching aids, together with a classroom for teaching theory.
Said Tichnor Charles, chief executive officer of St Crispin’s Home: “Although we receive government funding for teachers’ salaries, all other running costs are met from charitable donations. Until BT approached us, computer facilities were just a dream. We could not afford the equipment and software or a connection to the internet.”
As well as providing the funding to equip the lab and provide high bandwidth connectivity to the internet, BT has also actively helped the school develop the IT courses and secure affiliation so that the qualifications the children attain are recognised.
But BT’s involvement does not stop there, with staff making regular visits to the school helping with decision-making and assisting in day-to-day operations.
Tichnor Charles added: “BT has also helped us build a science laboratory and a library containing English books. The IT lab has been the catalyst for us to extend the teaching of English language at the school. This will be very important to help our students to secure well-paid jobs or go on to further education.”
More than 600 children have already benefited from the computing facilities and St Crispin’s anticipates extending the number of students receiving tuition in computer science to 700 in the coming year.
Concluded Tichnor Charles: “The partnership with BT has helped us to change the way we think. Its sponsorship has taken the school to a different level. In fact, BT has made our dreams come true and we are very grateful for its continued support.”
As an ICT services provider BT is in a strong position to help break the cycle of poverty by spreading the benefits of communications technologies as widely as possible.