Young changemakers raised INR 400,000 to bridge the digital education divide

Despite the physical stand still that has affected many countries across the globe, life goes on and we must evolve to overcome the challenges exacerbated by COVID-19. Many areas of life have been affected, but one of the most problematic areas is education.

Due to physical restrictions brought about by COVID-19 the new academic year is under way online. But what does that mean for those in rural communities with little or no access to the electronic devices they need to take part in digital learning? The sad reality is that most will fall behind and/or drop out of education which may significantly decrease their quality of life.

As an NGO our (Thinksharp Foundation) vision is to bridge the Rural-Urban education divide in India, and after identifying the above, there has never been a more important time to do so. Our first step to bridge this divide has been the implementation of a model of education called StudyMall which will provide educational tablets to 70 children from grades 4 – 7 in Z.P. School, Gorhe Budruk village, Haveli, Pune. These tablets are essential to promote and enable education in rural areas. They will help them connect with their teachers to attend online classes and will also have a library of 1200 books to read along with other educational apps. This will facilitate engaging study online and offline.

With a progressive initiative like this comes a large funding necessity. The initiative has seen support from far and wide with incredible contributions and awareness raised by other children. In particular we must thank some of The Young Changemakers from Tribes for Good  – Kabir, Pradyna, Pranav, Kashish, Navyashree, Neel, Vansh, Aarnav and Abhimanyu who have raised over INR 400,000 on Milaap crowdfunding platform in order to bridge the digital education divide!

“The project was very enriching. We were able to experience first-hand what social businesses do, what I as a Young Changemaker can do for society, and the sustainable development goal we’re trying to impact. At first, I was apprehensive about how we would fund our campaign. But with the guidance of the facilitators, I was able to overcome this hurdle and raise almost 50 thousand rupees individually. It was also very heartwarming to hear from the Thinksharp team and be appreciated for our efforts.” ~ Navyashree

“I was very much fascinated by the work they (Thinksharp) were doing to bridge the rural – urban education divide. The organisation was introducing the concept of Study Malls to the children in rural Maharashtra by giving access to better educational infrastructure such as digital learning tools, library and other educational resources for children and teachers. I created some creatives and visuals to post on social media and wrote my content so that people can relate to it and know for what cause they are donating.” ~ Kashish

TribesforGOOD is a platform for individuals to learn and take action on ‘real issues’ and due to their unparalleled action to try and solve some of these issues their fundraising will provide 10-15 tablets to provide educational opportunities like their own. Although there is still a way to go, this provides a promising start to an essential initiative!

 

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Education experts speaks on innovative, progressive education to improve rural education in India

Think sharp Foundation is glad to summarise our recent activity of Facebook live sessions conducted in this blog. So far, we conducted 10 Facebook live sessions with various experts who talked on subjects educational described below:

Mr.Sharad Machale ( Headmaster, secretary Baramati Taluka Teachers Association) – Challenges and solutions for education sector during coronavirus pandemic.

He spoke on challenges to run schools during and after Covid-19 pandemic. He focused on maintaining social distancing in school, hygiene, student- teacher interaction, sports activities and more. To listen more –https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/547419039533267/

Mr.Ananda Aanamwad ( Teacher Zilla Parished School, Malyan, Dahanu, Palghar, district level technology trainer and guide also state level KINO awardee winner)

He spoke on available technology for online learning for students and teachers. He also provided list of educational apps and resources available for online learning and use available technology effectively. To listen more – https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/831313067362206/

Mr.Yogesh Dhaware (Teacher, Tongo international inventor awardee , National level Youth teachers federation award) – Creative education during coronavirus lockdown

Dhaware sir provided creativity-based learning ideas. This was very helpful considering current times when children are at home due to lockdown. He introduced good concept of “Ghar Ghar Pathshala” / Home schooling and provided more such ideas on creative solutions at home to teach kids. To listen more –https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/2542227805990161/

Mr.Sandip Pawar (Head Master, Zilla Parished School Jarewadi, Patoda, Beed, President awardee , ABP Maza news channel Mazha Katta panelist) -Community participation for progressive education

Pawar sir talked about how they motivated community to participate in development of school and provided pointers on how others can do it too. To listen more –  https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/262301291814360/

Mr.Arjun Koli ( Headmaster Nagar Palika Shala No.3, Karad, First ISO School In Maharashtra, State Awardee) – Increase in class count and learning outcomes.

Koli sir talked about how he increased the count of students in his school. He motivated children to come to school by involving parents. Parents were daily wage workers who used to go for work in daytime hence could not attention teacher parents meeting, so Koli sir started meeting at night. Once this meeting was successful, parents were on board to send children to school instead of making them work. To Listen more – https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/679202686266238/

Mr.Prem Yadav (Co-founder and CEO Pratham infotech foundation) -Digital learning

Mr.Yadav shared new trend and in EdTech sector, he also shared his vision to improve technology based learning through their initiative Digital Sakshar. Free learning app for Maharashtra state board. Which is widely used across schools. To listen more – https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/581089719280640/

Mr. Rahul Patil (Meteorological expert) – Climate literacy

Session introduced how students and teachers can participate in stopping climate change. The speaker Rahul Patil gave few more details on how to read weather, what books and websites can be referred to make children aware and interested about climate change. To listen more – https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/585077615448960/

 Ms. Pranali Dhamanand (Early childhood expert and parent trainer) – Early childhood education

Ms. Pranali talked about very practical ideas for parents to start educating children at home. Shee have pointers for early childhood education i.e. 2 to 5 years. She made parents aware about activity based and experience-based methods to be used for this age group. To listen more – https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/682833335623069/

Amit Kutwal (Program Manager, Thinksharp Foundation) – Challenges and solutions in digital learning in rural school

Mr.Amit shared data from his survey on what are current challenges and solutions available during lockdown period to conduct online learning sessions in rural schools. To listen more – https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation/videos/1544594815888390/

Our vision to work for betterment of rural education can be met when we reach beneficiary in every manner possible. We wanted to extend our reach to more teachers, parents, educationist, change makers and bring all together to share ideas and solutions regarding educational topics and it’s knowledge .

We will continue to invite such speakers frequently on our live sessions to reach more beneficiary and bring everyone on same level in terms of improving quality of education. If you or your acquaintance wants to share knowledge on such education related topics, reach out to us to schedule live session on our page.

Written By – Dr.Shraddha Bhange (Volunteer)

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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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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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