As COVID-19 hit India – anganwadis, government schools and different community learning centres went into lockdown. We realized that children in under-resourced communities were not getting access to quality education due to the ongoing crisis. The penetration rate of smartphones in India is around 10-15% and in villages it is even less. Most of the education support interventions during this crisis at present are online/app-based and unfortunately are out of reach for the majority of the population who don’t have access to smartphones/computers and internet.
In the situation where children could not avail education only because of smartphones, we came up with multiple localized solutions. We planned, designed and implemented programs to make sure that children’s education does not discontinue during these challenging times.
Home-based Learning: We designed an accessible home-based learning program for children aged 3-10 years. We use ‘voice call & SMS-based’ learning platforms to reach out to parents so that they can engage with their children in activity-based learning content. The user-friendly modules can be understood and implemented by parents regardless of their literacy level. This program enables parents to work towards developing the skills of their children from an early age. Access to the contents is free of cost for the families. We provided a variety of home-based learning activities, focusing on foundational skills in Odia and Mathematics. The activities are very simple in nature. Also, it takes a maximum 10 minutes to practice an activity.
We use four different methods to share. This is to ensure that the learning activities and guidelines are accessible for families:
Automated Calls – pre-recorded descriptive audio versions of the text messages are sent to parents’ phones, ensuring that parents who are not able to read receive the messages. Based on the age level and class of the child the content is scheduled.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – Parents are provided with a toll-free number to go through the learning activities multiple times during the course of the day.
Text messages (SMS) – The same content would be shared via SMS to all parents in addition to sensitization messages to highlight their role in children’s learning and how our program supports that role
Live phone calls by volunteers - This is to supplement calls and SMS done by trained community educators. These calls will provide a walk-through of learning activities shared with them and provide support.
AIMS & OBJECTIVES
To improve the learning outcomes of students in mother-tongue and mathematics during the pandemic when the regular academic session has been disrupted.
Parents show an increased interest in their child’s education
THE SOCIAL ISSUE
When education took shift to online mode, India witnessed a massive digital divide, one who have access to online education and one who do not have access to online education. This resulted in discontinuation of learning of the children who do not have access to children. Home based learning program addressed this issue by providing education using non-internet based technology.
ThinkZone’s home-based learning program which was devised and implemented as a direct response to the Covid-19 crisis has helped us to reach out to more than 10000+ children with quality education alternatives.
ROLE OF YOUTH
120 community volunteers
We could engage parents in their children's education.
There were quite a lot of positives in terms of improvement in learning scores among students in a period of 5 months.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
The project is directly aligned to SDG Goal 4 of “Ensuring inclusive & equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all”. The project would also ensure that all children from poor background have access to quality pre-primary and primary education so that they have a solid foundation to do well in their lives.
ThinkZone’s home-based learning program which was devised and implemented as a direct response to the Covid-19 crisis has helped us to reach out to more than 10000+ children with quality education alternatives. We feel that the program can be incorporated in association with the government to ensure the active involvement of parents, which even the National Education Policy focuses on. Through our concerted efforts, we have reached out to parents who could facilitate engagement through activity-based learning for their children, free of cost. This has considerably eased the process of imparting education for parents, in these trying times.
Our learning from program implementation during the COVID-19 crisis would help us shape better programs in the future. We also intend to make our programs with a mixture of online and offline tools so that we do not face the same challenges in case the world hits another pandemic.
This posed a brand-new challenge for ThinkZone, but the long-term planning of the team resulted in the fruition of a home-based learning program which ensured that the circumstances failed to impact the affected kids’ education..
We are actively looking to partner with social enterprises, corporates and the government to provide quality education to children from under-resourced communities. Please reach out to us for partnerships on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coordinator: Itishree Behera
Email ID: email@example.com
Address: Plot No 2B, 1091, CDA Sector 11, Cuttack, Odisha 753014
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