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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16th StudyMall launched at Z.P School, Poshir, Tq.Karjat, Dist.Raigad

Thinksharp Foundation is growing and reaching more and more villages to help rural children by providing them better educational infrastructure. On 18 April 2018  we met another milestone, we launched 16th StudyMall at Z.P School, Poshir, Tq.Karjat, Dist.Raigad With this StudyMall we are reaching now 4000+ rural children and more than 100 teachers in our StudyMall schools. This Project was sponsored through our CSR  (Corporate Social Responsibility) partnership with Endurance International Group, a renowned Technology company (More details – https://india.endurance.com/about-us/

A Digital Class-StudyMall with projector being displayed.

This project was mainly possible due to support from all our donors, funders, supporters, local teachers, parents and villagers .We thank especially our local supporter and volunteer Mr.Ravi Paste Sir who himself is full time Teacher but is helping us in reaching more and more villages to provide better educational infrastructure.

A poem being displayed on projector provided in Digital Class-StudyMall

This StudyMall  will be providing  these 123 and many more other children from Poshir Village –  a chance to read books and enjoy there childhood, chance to sing along , dance along while watching poems  on digital projector and learn easily difficult concepts in various subject such as science  through digital learning and chance to develop there talent in  arts,crafts and enjoy other better educational infrastructure.

Children enjoying books at Library -StudyMall

We have set up Library and digital class for betterment of these 123+ students and to help 04 teachers of this school to teach in better way. 1 classroom is converted to appear child friendly by painting it with animations and colors as advanced hub of learning with lots of books in drawing, stories, DIY hobbies, and digital/e-learning .Total classroom are 4 RCC classroom.

You can catch glimpses of opening ceremony and StudyMall at our facebook page-https://www.facebook.com/pg/ThinkSharpFoundation/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1029067103899172

Poshir is a small village with approximate total population of 2186+ apprx.  Z.P.School of this small village is from  1st to 4th std and is Marathi medium school.

We thank all our partners for infrastructure solutions  E-Prashala, Pratham Books, Jyotsna Publication. We thank our Sponsor  Endurance International Group, and also extend our thanks to our individual supporters and donors.

We are happy to share that we also received Media Coverage for the event, to mention few is Coverage by PunyaNagari Newspaper.

We wait for more feedback from students and teachers on usage of StudyMall and its impact on there learning.  We will update you on same on periodic basis. Connect to our social media pages to get live updates.

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

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

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

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

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

Pinterest-https://www.pinterest.com/drshraddha/studymall-an-better-rural-education-initiative/?sender=479915041450106595&invite_code=12911392f0804050981218d239306784

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

 

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8th and 9th StudyMall Launched at Kalegaon and Kumbefal Village

Thinksharp Foundation is growing and reaching more and more village children to provide them better educational infrastructure. On 20 Dec 2017 we met another milestone, we launched 8th and 9th StudyMall at Z.P. School, Village Kalegaon and Z.P. School, village Kumbefal, Tq-Khamgaon at Dist Buldhana.  The ribbon cutting ceremony was carried out by our Guide and Advisor Respected Bodade sir alonwith our international volunteer team from USA, Disha Karale, Dr.Vandana karale and Mr.Shridhar Karale. They were also joined by other local dignitaries such as Gram Panchayat and district officers.
You can catch glimpses of opening ceremony of StudyMall on our facebook page-For StudyMall launch at Z.P.SCHOOL, Village Kalegaon-https://www.facebook.com/pg/ThinkSharpFoundation/photos/?tab=album&album_id=964283767044173
For StudyMall launch at Z.P.SCHOOL , Village Kumbefal –
This will help 500+ village children 15+ teachers in learning and teaching in better way as StudyMall  will be providing them digital learning and library plus arts,crafts and other educational infrastructure.
This was possible with the help of support from Respected Bodade sir and Bodade madam and Z.P.School teachers, Villagers, Gram panchayat and students .

Kumbefal and Kalegaon village  are small villages located in Taluqa Khamgaon, close to Shegaon, Dist Buldhana. Approximate population of Kumbefal is 2800 and that of Kalegaon is 3500.

Kumbefal village Z.P. school is from 1st to 8th  std (Marathi) and has 233 students and  08 Non RCC classrooms.Kalegaon village Z.P.School  is from 1st to 7th  Std Marathi medium and urdu medium,First and Second class semi English, 201 students and  9 classrooms out of which 7 are RCC .

We have set up Library and digital class for betterment of these 233 students. 2 classrooms are converted as advanced hub of learning with lots of books in drawing, stories, DIY hobbies, and digital/e-learning in motivational classroom painted in animated child feeling way.

We thank our partners for infrastructure solutions  E-Prashala, Pratham Books, Jyotsna Publication.

We wait for more feedback from students and teachers on usage of StudyMall and its impact on there learning.  We will update you on same on periodic basis. Connect to our social media pages to get live updates.

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

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

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

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

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

Pinterest-https://www.pinterest.com/drshraddha/studymall-an-better-rural-education-initiative/?sender=479915041450106595&invite_code=12911392f0804050981218d239306784

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

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7th StudyMall launched at Village Panodi, Dist Ahemdnagar

We are very happy to share that our 7th  StudyMall Project was launched on 02 Dec 2017 at Balpan English School. On occasion of the opening ceremony a science exhibition was also presented by  150+ school’s talented little scientists . Children made windmill, sound and air properties, volcano eruption, rainbow formation, motor driven boat, sprinkler irrigation, ATM machine, Hydraulic lift etc as part of science exhibition.
To know more click the link to see exclusive pictures of this event on our Facebook page album. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.955111167961433.1073741835.181244028681488&type=1&l=fd30796769 
This  School is started by a very dynamic couple and social entrepreneurs themselves Mr and Mrs Munde. They both have two talented children Pratik and Varad,  and they realized  they had to send there eldest Son Pratik to a town place to study in English medium. This created an impact on both of them and it put them in direct contact with the problems faced by parents who are forced to send children to towns and cities for better educational facilities.  To overcome this , they are running a State approved English School in a small village Panodi, which is in Tq-Sangamner, Dist Ahmednagar (40 km from Shirdi ) Maharashtra, India. There youngest son Varad is studying in same school in 4th std.
The school is a 2 storey building with lights tubes fans and ample ground with playground. They are trying best to upgrade school infrastructure everyday. School has total 167 students from 1st to 5 th std. The staff (approx 8 teachers in total)  is highly qualified and motivated to educate and teach this talented set of children.
On 15 Aug 2017, Team Thinksharp Foundation attended Independence day event Balpan English school.  We were highly convinced by there dedication and commitment for betterment of educational infrastructure and hence decided to help them more from our side.
On 02 Dec 2017, we formally launched StudyMall in this school. This StudyMall project provides them with Digital projector which is solar based and has all the needed academic contents plus non academic extracurricular contents for interactive learning. We aim to help them more in long term by providing them more learning tools as they need.
If you want to help your village or more villages like this You too can be part of this. Click the link to donate in few minutes . You will also be eligible to claim tax benefit for donation*.
https://milaap.org/fundraisers/StudyMall-DigitalClass

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

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