India education divide – rural education come to a standstill during lockdown

zoom session at Z.P School Ghore budruk, Haveli, Pune

Coronavirus Pandemic has made world come to a standstill. Even though it has been 3 months of lockdown, there is not complete recovery or change of situation.

Every industry including education sector has stopped working. Considering that there is no immediate vaccine or treatment in near future, the option we are left with is to face the situation together and find creative and effective solutions.

Usually in India the school reopens in June every year after summer holidays. However, considering this Coronavirus pandemic, restarting schools will aggravate the situation. But, on the other hand, keeping schools closed and children locked at home is also not a solution. Already the disruption of examinations and schools has affected children’s interest and slowed down the academics.

To find a balanced solution to this problem of loss of education of children, Thinksharp Foundation conducted a survey in 50 (Zilla Parished Schools) rural Government schools in Maharashtra.

We noted that these schools are trying their best to conduct school syllabus and avoid loss of interest of children via online method. They use online methods such as WhatsApp, zoom sessions etc. However, they are able to reach only 20% to 25% children due to various reasons. Few of the common reasons are parents do not have smart phones, or even if they have, the phones are not available when the online classes are conducted, network non availability, poor connection, electricity cut so phones are not charged etc. Hence only online classes cannot be the effective solution in rural schools.

We then discussed this problem and reached out for solutions to teachers, educationists, parents and other community members. Few solutions suggested are listed below:

  1. Govt should continue to broadcast syllabus on television. This will ensure that maximum children can have access and continue their academic syllabus study.
  2. Teachers should reach out to parents and share creative ideas of teaching academics at home.
  3. We should educate children on continuation of education in such situations of epidemics and pandemics.
  4. We as a community should come together, teachers reaching out to volunteers, parents and students coming together.

While we present few findings of survey on how corona affected education and share solutions, we still welcome comments regarding more solutions.

Written by
Dr.Shraddha Bhange (Volunteer)

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Digital Learning – New avatar to our Legacy Learning System!

When my daughter was 2 years old, I started to introduce her to “Good Manners” like washing hands, brushing teeth twice a day etc. I used to repeat my stories and examples so that she can correlate and learn. But most of the times, I was in vain.

One day, I showed her an animated story of how a boy had to pay a visit to dentist for not brushing his teeth during night. That did the trick!! Hurray!! I started showing her more such stories and I was surprised to see the impact on her.

Now in Sr.KG, she has been introduced to Solar System at school.

When I tell her that we all people are lying on the earth and the earth is hanging in the space, she doesn’t seem to have understood. I showed her a video which clearly explains Solar System with nice colourful pictures and good voice-over. Now she not only knows about Earth but also the hottest and coldest planets, the nearest and farthest planets, the Saturn ring etc.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd6nLM2QlWw

And there are many such instances happened between us which reminded me my childhood.

When I was in school, my favourite subject used to be Science where the teacher used to draw colourful images on the black board. Once the picture was understood, it was very easy to write about it in examinations.

I also remember how my Grandmother used to make us watch The Ramayana and Mahabharat movies in Television. Those movies helped us to imagine about Ancient India, the Kings, the British, the Sultan and various reign’s culture.

I understood that; a picture is worth a thousand words.

What does the science say?
A Message from Your Brain: I’m Not Good at Remembering What I Hear.

A new study shows that we are far better at remembering what we see and touch than what we hear.

“I hear and I forget; I see and I remember” – Chinese proverb

“Our auditory memory isn’t as robust as we might like to think it is,” says Poremba. “We think that we are great at integrating all the senses,” but the experiment shows that tactile and visual memory easily trumped auditory memory.

Technology Can Help
Along with Black, technology provides many possibilities for multisensory learning. Interactive computer graphics and videos that add more senses to the mix can “make visual cues much stronger” and “improve visual memory,” she says—and can also increase attention span. In other words, the more varied ways in which you are exposed to and interact with the material, the more likely you will be able to remember it.

Read full article:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/3/140312-auditory-memory-visual-learning-brain-research-science/

This made me understand the reason behind the word. DIGITAL LEARNING echoing all over the world.

Digital Learning is nothing but learning some useful content using digital tools like Smart pads, Projectors, computers, etc. which can provide a better look and feel of the content than that on the paper.

It is a new avatar to our Legacy Learning System!

Digital Learning in Schools
It is merely important to introduce Digital Learning in schools and colleges where a person’s most of the educational phase lies.

Most of the schools and colleges in major parts of India have adapted this new education methodology.

Digital Learning in Schools in Rural India.
Education itself is a challenge in Rural India whose main priority is to earn the livelihood. Parents in rural India would rather send children to earn daily wages.

This is one of the main reasons for school dropouts in rural India.

Child’s lack of interest in studying the textbooks is also another reason for the increase in dropout percentage.

Digital Learning through its interactive and interesting teaching methods will bring back child’s interest towards education thus increasing the nation’s literacy rate.

Irrespective of their location, expert teachers can share their knowledge with kids via  the new digital tools like video conferencing or can store the content in offline form.

Government’s role in promoting Digital Learning in rural India
State as well as Central government has taken initiative to uplift Digital Learning.

The crucial factor is to provide necessary infrastructure in rural areas. Under ‘E-Kranti’, one of the major pillars of Digital India, the government of India has collaborated with various telecom service providers to set-up infrastructure for internet services in remote areas of the country.

However, more efforts are needed, since only 9 percent of rural India has access to the Internet.

In the Union Budget for 2018-19, the government’s focus has been towards improving the quality of education by integrating technology. It has allocated Rs 456 crore for digital education.

Also, Government has collaborated with Samsung to launch their “Smart Class” in around 400 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas across the nation. Samsung is facilitating each “Smart Class” with latest audio-visual tools like Samsung Tablets (41 tabs per class), interactive smartboard, printer and other devices. These classes also have learning apps for Computer Science, Mathematics, English and Science. These latest technology tools help students to learn complicated concepts easily. Samsung Smart Class also enables teachers in retaining the students’ attention due to this modern and interactive learning environment.

More info at: https://www.samsung.com/in/microsite/sapne-hue-bade/stories/smartclass/

Government also has to provide regular trainings to teachers so as to make them well aquintained with the new education system.

NGO and CSR activities
Various Non-Government Organisations and major corporates came forward in promoting Digital Education. For instance:

Vidyadhaanam programme by TATA Motors as part of their CSR activities https://www.tatamotors.com/programs/education/

Plan India NGO working towards promoting Digital Education amongst girls https://www.planindia.org/

Pratham – Pratham Education Foundation

Role of Thinksharp Foundation
Being an accused of this rural urban education divide, Santosh Phad, the founder of ThinkSharp Foundation, has started “StudyMall” a complete Digital Class, in rural areas of Maharashtra.

Study Mall offers a complete solution and infrastructure (All in one projector which run on remote and consume less electricity) needed for rural schools. ( Below pic- Z.P School, Aswalamba, Tq.parli,Dist.Beed)

Projector includes-

  • All educational content aligned with state board syllabus
  • Other educational content (Offline Wikipedia), ICT content, preloaded educational videos
  • It connects with WIFI, teachers can connect with internet through HOTSPOT and can show students various educational and cultural content
  • Also can connect pen drive to show some offline content
  • can operate on wireless keyboard and Mouse
  • Easy to use: even though are teachers not available in school, any student can operate the digital tools.

Few glimpses of Digital Learning in Study Malls

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO-uMu5o2AI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEYfKAv9sHU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mPmANntjLc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BTUSw6xhmPA

Buy few advantages and get a disadvantage free!!

When misused, every fair advantage has its equal counterparts. Digital Learning too has a bundle of cons which should be addressed.

  • Moving to digital doesn’t mean replacing the teachers. Digital learning should happen under the guidance of well trained teachers. Government should conduct trainings at frequent intervals to teachers so that they can hone their digital and infrastructure skills.
  • Complete shift of education to digital is not advisable as that will not enable students to learn the regional transcript. There should be hybrid mode where in digital tools will be used on demand to aid the legacy education system.
  • As digital involves laptops, LCD screens, smart pads which strain the eyes leading to eyesight issues. Necessary precautions have to be taken while watching the smart pads.
  • Ensuring proper ergonomics is mandatory while sitting before laptops and computers else improper posture leads to several spine issues.
  • Students should be trained to use the mouse in correct angles which otherwise would cause “tendonitis” , an inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle

Hence, Too much is too bad. Moderation is the key to success.

In a Nut Shell
Education is the only weapon to eradicate poverty in India and to change the face of current rural areas. When the best of it is provided to students, it can remove the word “Rural” from India’s dictionary.

While urban population can afford the digital tools, it is government’s responsibility to provide necessary infrastructure to rural schools.

Together with the collaboration of government and Non-government organizations, the divide between rural and urban education can be reduced thus making the young India achieve par excellence.

Happy learning!!

Written By – Malathi Krishna (malathi123in@gmail.com)

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StudyMall – Bridging Rural-Urban education divide – Computer Education in Government schools in Maharashtra

The necessity of a basic computer education is immense in this day and age. The lowest job to the highest job, the need for a computer is always there. As we become more technologically advanced, kids have started using computers and mobile phones since they start speaking. This helps them be smarter, worldlier wise and also be in touch with the relevant events of the world. This is a luxury for many kids in the rural areas of India. Hence, we as country should strive to bridge these barriers.

At the ThinkSharp Foundation, we believe that education for all should not be a luxury, but a necessity. In the 21st century, computers, technology and everything related to it, has become a way of teaching and learning. Why should the lesser privileged or the remote villages be deprived of them? ThinkSharp has come up with StudyMall, where the organization donates computers and the peripherals for students in the rural areas so that they have access to basic computer education.

The recent feather in their hat was the contribution of computers to a government school in the district of Raigad, Karjat Taluka in Maharashtra. The Z.P. School received computers, under the StudyMall project. This project successfully benefitted around 50 students from the village. They will be educated in the basics of operating a computer.

A quick conversation with the founder, Mr. Santosh Phad, made me realize how much we lack as a country in the basics of the educational system. While we, the privileged have pumped in more money than one can fathom into our private education, there are kids who do not even receive the bare necessities. We, as a community could do so much more to help these kids achieve their dreams and make “Education for all” a massive success. DHL Express was the god-sent contributor of these laptops.

The ratio of teachers to students in the rural set-up is rather disheartening to see. We have a larger amount of enrollment in the rural areas than in the urban. We need more teachers, moreover we need more computer aided teaching to be done in the remote areas so as to allow them quality education, without having to pay a bomb and travel.

We, at ThinkSharp Foundation would like to thank DHL in helping us realize the dreams of these kids.

Written By
Pratiksha Ghosh Vichhivora
https://www.facebook.com/pratiksha.vichhivora

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To learn more,travel more-Inspiration from two 10 years old.

Inspiration comes in all sizes and shapes . Today’s inspiration that I would like to share is story of Darshan and Omkar Hilal both of them are 5th standard students in a small village.

Why are they inspiring us? Because they show us that when we want something for ourselves, we need to learn, acquire knowledge and for that we should be 100% committed. And this also means giving up easy choices and coming out of comfort zone to learn and do better.

Darshan and Omkar  5th Std students

They both are users of our StudyMall project at one of our partner school Z.P.School Antrad Need, Tq.Karjat, District Raigad. And they chose this school despite having to travel 6 km every day with 100% commitment. They gave up the comfort of going to a school which was much closer, they face travelling challenges every day and despite all odds attend school everyday so they could learn better from the better educational infrastructure provided at this particular school.

Z.P.School Antrad Need has collaborated with us to run StudyMall from Dec 2017, which offers them computer education, digital learning, books, toys and educational games.

For them 6 km is not a distance to travel, but a runway to fly high and achieve their dreams.

StudyMall offers computer education in school

At first, both of  their parents were worried about 6km daily travel and time and money  spent on it. However these two children convinced there parents that better learning facility is more important for their education than the travelling efforts. Surprised by this commitment parents decided to see the facilities the school was offering. After they visited school, they were convinced about the better learning experience this school was offering. They knew their children had better chances of having equal education opportunity as compared to urban children in this school. Hence they permitted Darshan and Omkar to continue with the Z.P.School, Antrad Need Village.

Parents were proud to support their children’s commitment who choose to “travel more” to “learn more”.

Digital Classroom in school

Both of them attend school every day by traveling 6 km distance because they love their school and the infrastructure that StudyMall offers.

A good infrastructure is only effective with dedicated teachers and for this school we have equally dedicated and committed teachers  Mr.Ravi Pashte sir and Mrs.Asha Kharat.

Children and teachers from this school are so committed towards making best of the quality education available in their school, they are our motivation behind successfully running of our project  since  Dec 2017.

After noticing the kind of positive response, we opened the StudyMall door to other children who are not enrolled in the school. Parents have become more aware about the importance of education and are encouraging children to spend maximum of their time in learning and educating themselves.

Like Antrad Need school, we want to make every rural school and every village ready for 21th century education and give them what they deserve. Your support can help us to reach every village and offer StudyMall to each child.   Click Here to support.

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer for Thinksharp Foundation
http://www.ThinksharpFoundation.org

 

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StudyMall awarded National Digital Trailblazer award 2016

Our National Story- National Digital Trailblazer award

We are happy to share that, we have received National Digital Trailblazers Award at Digital India Conclave, Delhi on 30th Nov 2016. Award  presented by Hon’ble Union Minister for Electronics and IT for ( Gov.Of India ) Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad for our project StudyMall for bringing digital education to rural children of Maharashtra.

StudyMall awarded National Digital TrailBlazer award presented by Mr.Ravi Shankar Prasad Union minster for Electronics & IT (GOI)
StudyMall awarded National Digital TrailBlazer award. Award was presented by Mr.Ravi Shankar Prasad Union minster for Electronics & IT (Government of India)

The Digital India conclave was initiated by India Today Television in association with HP India & KPMG.

The digital conclave was conclusive event of 8 such conclave’s carried out in 8 states of India in 2016. Digital Conclave is a very good initiative by India Today which traveled to 8 states of India that were Jharkand, Andhra Pradesh, Rajashtan, Gujrat, Odisha, Telengana, Chattisgarh  and Maharashtra .

In simple words, Digital conclave selected individuals and organisations in these states that are integrating digital means to help society.

national-conclave-poster
Our Founder Mr.Santosh at the National Digital Conclave event next to Thinksharp Foundation Poster 🙂

The State chapters  concluded with a Grand National Digital Conclave in Delhi. Each state conclave addressed the fundamental pillars of healthcare, education and essential services and governance in the host state and how they used digital Technology to provide solutions to some of the key challenges in this sector.

For the national Digital conclave we were very happy and proud to hear Dignitaries like Mr.Rajdeep Sardesai renowned journalist, HP India MD Mr.Rajiv Srivastava, Mr.Pradyumma -Secretary to CM Of Andhra Pradesh and secretary to IT Govt of AP, Mr.Pradhan -IPS Former ADG Jharkhand Police, Mr. Agarwal – Principal Secretary Higher education, Govt of Chhattishgarh, Mr.Gupta – Commissioner of health and medical services, Govt of Gujarat, Ms.Aruna Sundararajan– Secretary Ministry of electronics and IT, Mr.Kiran Karnik – Former President NASSCOM, Mr.Leo Jospeh – Director HP India.

The esteemed Dignitaries/panelists

Other trailblazers winners included but not limited to organisations and individuals like HealthSaathilifecare,  MrHimanshu Patel Sarpanch of Punsari Vilage, DrP. Rajalakshmi and Team IIM Hyderabad , Ms. Tanuja Raichura From ChattisgarhMr. Shadab Hassan from SPEAK organisation, Teamkhushibaby,  and Swayamshree from Loke motors.

The National Digital conclave event winners and panelists and dignitaries
The National Digital conclave event winners and panelists and dignitaries

We were chosen from the state of Maharashtra to be awarded at National conclave “Digital Trailblazer award” for bringing digital education to rural parts of Maharashtra. We are proud to have received this award.

Thinksharp Foundation Founder Mr.Santosh and voulnteer Dr.shraddha with award on behalf of all Thinksharp Foundation team
Thinksharp Foundation Founder Mr.Santosh and voulnteer Dr.shraddha with award trophy on behalf of all Thinksharp Foundation team

We are helping approximately 1700 rural children and four villages as of 2017. With the trust entrusted on us by this award we are geared up to help many more rural children and take StudyMall to every needed rural part of India.

We would like to extend thanks to all our supporters and donors . The list is exhaustive but to name a few – Bhagwan Jadhav Rahul Sonwane , Shraddha Bhange,  Santosh Phad Sachin Pawar,  Deepali Basur,  Saurabh Mangrule , Amol Nikam and many more individual donors.  Partner organisations such as Quarterpants Pratham Books Young Volunteer’s Organization , Milaap,  BitGiving,  Ketto and many more.

You can check our coverage that was aired on India Today @https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zqz8pP3uDxw

You can donate and support us too for our ongoing camapign that will set up 2 StudyMall and help 2 villages-https://milaap.org/fundraisers/thinksharp

You can also donate on our website ..http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate –http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

 

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