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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Rural education in India during and post CORONA/COVID-19

Today, we all are fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, it has costed us human lives, caused economic loss, loss of our freedom, motivation and much more. While every sector/industry is facing losses and challenges due to COVID-19, I am going to discuss about challenges and loss in educational sector especially rural education in this blog. And also open up a dialogue on how to address this challenges.

Currently, due to COVID-19, exams are postponed, schools, colleges, universities are closed. In the beginning they were closed without further notice but it was assumed it will be for short period of time. However, looking at the bleak future, where we do not know when will we get cure or vaccine, everybody has started finding solutions in terms continuing classes via digital medium i.e webinars/video conferencing etc.

One key factor to understand here is the above digital medium is being used by private,international and urban education institutes. But the rural schools, specifically govt rural schools are lagging way behind.

We already know rural govt schools lag behind in infrastructure e.g. but not limited to lack of digital infrastructure (computers, projectors etc)  poor teacher student ratio, low attendance, parents who are unaware of importance of education and lack of their efforts to help their children get educated, financially backward families, non availability of continuous electricity and so on. All this factors make it a teacher dependent education system in rural govt schools, now to replace that with digital platform due to COVID-19 is challenging. On top of it, even if we decide to implement digital/online learning , there is lack of computers, internet, personal mobiles/ devices to connect video calling, webinars etc.

Rural govt schools are currently closed due to summer holidays, ideally they should re open in June first week as per every years process. But this year due to COVID-19, there is no clarity. The situation may result in extension of lock down or even if not, we have still lost a lot of valuable time and this schools may have lost time to finish exams, curriculum, and covering that will take efforts and time.

To prepare for smooth transition of learning for rural children which got disturbed due to COVID-19, we need to push ourselves and think of solutions of making digital learning available to rural children. We have been doing just that in 50 rural schools already. However we realize we were able to provide only digital projector and few laptops. But if situation like COVID-19 persists or in future we have more such situations, we might need to provide individual devices to rural children . As this children belong to financially week families, they do not own personal devices neither have internet.

Thinksharp Foundation is going to extend their thoughts and welcomes views and support on tackling this issue under project StudyMall, StudyMall currently provides library and digital learning facilities. But we are working on extending this to have laptops, individual personal devices etc for uninterrupted learning, for serving rural population.

We want to extend our work to create a financially viable and user friendly option to provide equal digital learning tools for rural children.

We welcome educationists, parent, children, policymakers, fellow NGOs to contribute to pool of ideas and frame solutions to solve this issue . Together lets help rural govt schools and rural children learn uninterrupted during and post COVID-19 period.

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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Tips on usage of computer by Dr.Varsha for our ComputerMitra beneficiaries

StudyMall is helping more than 5000 rural children read,learn and do better in studies. StudyMall has reached 33 schools in 33 villages of Maharashtra. Recently we launched computer learning program “ComputerMitra” with help of NIIT foundation, where our volunteer teaches computer  for period of 3 months to a batch of students from 6th and 7 th std at Z.P.School of village Jambargaon and at end of this course (once they pass exam), they get certified by NIIT foundation as computer literates. But with technology, comes few health disadvantages which are preventable and we decided to create awareness regarding same.

Our volunteer Dr.Varsha, (Dr.Varsha contact page),  a well known respected medical doctor from Mumbai, decided to help us. On occasion of children’s eye health and safety month, took a audiovisual presentation via internet call for our  children enrolled in “Computer Mitra program” at Z.P.School Jambargaon. She explained to children regarding various precautions they need to take while using computer. She made sure to carry the presentation in easy and concise manner which can be understood by children. Despite lot of connectivity issues due to network errors in remote village, she patiently connected with chidlren and provided us her time.

Now the children of ComputerMitra program know : How to sit in front of the computer i.e. at eye level, to sit in a straight posture on chair without bending while using computer, the source of light should be not be on screen while using computer, and to hold mouse properly at wrist joint and many such other tips.

Children were so happy and motivated to listen from Dr.Varsha . We intent to integrate technology to have such helpful session on various topics for our StudyMall project in future too.

You can  also become our partner organisation,supporter, volunteer to conduct such interesting sessions for children and additionally, you can choose to donate for our cause. Check  for more details on our website.

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Website- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

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

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

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

Instgram- https://www.instagram.com/p/BYK3W-ihWJj/

Linkedin- https://in.linkedin.com/company/thinksharp-foundation

 

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Impact Stories of StudyMall- Better rural education in villages

StudyMall is helping more than 5000 rural children read,learn and do better in studies. StudyMall has reached 33 schools in 33 villages of Maharashtra. While we do have many impact parameters and impact stories, today i would like to share 2 little recent stories about impact of StudyMall. This stories are shared from teachers of our StudyMall project with us.

One of our respected and committed teacher is Mr.Prakash Rajput sir who shares his message regarding impact of StudyMall in Z.P.School of Village Murumkhedwadi, Dist Aurangabad as below. He shared his heartfelt thanks with  us for sending computer in his small village located in mountains. He shared the joy of happiness that he witnessed on children’s faces when they saw the computer in their school. He is one of  our strongest supporter of digital education, who not only teaches children about digital technology but also shares about digital teaching tools with his fellow teachers via whatsapp group created for teachers. His commitment is inspirational and we are happy to have him as our team member. Students are equally committed in learning and reading better in this school.
His exact message is copied from whatsapp below which is in marathi.
*”Thanks to Thinksharp Foundation”**आज दि. ७/८/२०१८ रोजी मुरुमखेडावाडी शाळेत संगणक पोहचला व डोंगराळ भागात असलेल्या चिमुकल्यांनी प्रत्यक्ष शाळेत संगणक आलेला पाहून त्यांचा आनंद व उत्साह जणू वेगळी भरारी घेऊ पाहत होता.**मागील आठवडयात शाळेत असलेला Led Tv वर्गात बसविला पण पेनड्राईव्हची असलेली मर्यादा व विद्यार्थ्यांना पी.डी.एफ तथा Ppt दाखविता येऊ शकत नव्हते .**श्री संतोष फड सरांना याविषयी बोललो तेव्हा सरांनी त्यांच्या मिञांमार्फत Hp कंपनीचा Cpu उपलब्ध करुन दिला . सर फ्रान्सला गेलेले असतांना परदेशातून ही ते आपल्या मातीशी किती जुळले आहेत त्यांची प्रचिती मला आली.* *सरांचे या योगदानाबद्दल संपूर्ण शाळेच्या तसेच विद्यार्थ्यांच्या वतीने आभार
*प्रकाशसिंग राजपूत*व*दिलीप आढेसर*”
Another impact story is from  our partner school Z.P school, Aswalamba, Parli.V shared by our respected teacher Mr.Maharudra Katkade sir. He is sharing how digital learning is helping students from 6th std students to understand maths concepts better. He shares about his experience regarding how digital projector has made  it easy for him to teach difficult math concepts to 6th standard students.
His exact message is in marathi copied below
“*आज standard 6th च्या मुलांना प्रोजेक्टर वर संख्या रेषा वरील क्रिया,अपूर्णांक,सम मूल्य अपूर्णांक video मधून दाखवला आणि तो लगेच मुलांना समजला क्लास मध्ये ब्लॅक बोर्ड वर 2 वेळा शिकवला पण मुलांना समजत नव्हता…..जिल्हा परिषद प्राथमिक शाळा अस्वलांबा ता.परळी वैजनाथ जिल्हा.बीड*”
Stories like this give us an insight about how simple additional tools can help students,teachers and community in rural parts to achieve their best.
We thank all our supporters, donors and partner organizations for there help and support in creating this impact.
You can  also become our partner organisation,supporter, volunteer and you can choose to donate for our cause. Check  for more details on our website.

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Website- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

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

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

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

Instgram- https://www.instagram.com/p/BYK3W-ihWJj/

Linkedin- https://in.linkedin.com/company/thinksharp-foundation

 

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Yoga Day celebrated by our little Yogi’s of StudyMall

On occasion of International Yoga day observed on Friday 21 June 2019, our partner schools enthusiastically took part in Yoga Day. All of our 30 centres in rural areas, participated by conducting Yoga Session with our young students from 1st std to 10th std with their teachers.

StudyMall promotes learning by providing various educational infrastructure in rural schools. Currently we focus on providing library and digital aids e.g. projector embedded with school syllabus and an option to link it to internet.With availability of such improved tools in rural schools, it fosters positive environment to conduct additional activities such as YOGA Day.

We are very thankful to have teachers who support and carry out such activities while fully using the provided infrastructure.

YOGA is our ancient practise which is accepted by people from all over the world as a physical, mental and spiritual discipline that brings good health and relaxation.

If you want to help us in creating such positive stories and impact for our future generations and help these little “Yogi’s” to become strong force behind building our nation, Join us now.

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Website- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

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

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

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

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