While the world is still fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, globally, it has resulted in schools shutting down for over seven months now. According to the World Economic Forum, over 1.2 billion children are out of their classrooms and the medium to teach and learn has completely shifted to the digital world.
Humana People to People India’s Digital Classroom Project (DCP), implemented in two districts of Chhattisgarh – Mungeli and Raigarh – has been using digital means in the classrooms since before the lockdown. The Project, implemented with the support of Microsoft and Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission, aims at imparting technology-based education in classrooms implemented in an engaging manner.The project comprises of two modules; the first is the ‘box solution’ where HPPI provides computers with digital educational content, projectors and speakers for each school.
The second is a digital learning assessment platform, wherein students learn individually. The content comprises of 60 topics which are divided into 3 levels. The first level is for grades 1-2, the second level for grades 3-4, and the third level for grade 5. These 60 topics, available digitally, help students easily understand complex concepts.
The project also includes the component of promoting literacy among women through the use of technology. The aim of the project is to use the power of technology in spreading literacy among all illiterate community members living near the 16-intervention schools in the two districts.
Since the lockdown, the modules used in the DCP are proving to be quite helpful and efficient for the students as well as for the teachers to help them transition to an online environment. As they were already oriented to use a computer and be online, it has been easier for the Project to continue its activities, within the restrictions of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for protection against the COVID-19.
With the lockdown, 16 lab instructors started by visiting their students at their homes. The students were then divided into 277 small groups. With the help of digital resources and 2 laptops each, each instructor teaches a group of 5-6 children for an hour every day.
Apart from the lab instructors, teachers from the 16 intervention government schools in Mungeli and Raigarh are also using the available computers to connect with their students online. Around 400 students have attended these online classes using smartphones from their homes. Till date, 2,270 students have enrolled in the Digital Classroom Project.
The Project is also supporting the State Government’s flagship programmes ‘Padai Tumhare Dwar’ (Education at your door) and ‘Padai Tumhare Para’ (Education in your village) where education is being bought to the students in a safe environment. HPPI is currently working in seven districts of Chhattisgarh.
In Raigarh and Mungeli, we are focusing on ‘Padai Tumhare Dwar’ online education through our Digital Classroom Project, while in Surajpur, Bilaspur, Raipur, Bijapur and Dantewada we are focusing on ‘Padai Tumhare Para’ with the involvement of local Government Teachers or Education Volunteers.
Till date, more than 4,500 students from across the seven districts (including students from the DCP) have participated in these classes in small groups. In this initiative, close to 400 government teachers from 117 schools and close to 80 education volunteers have also been associated.
This Project is not only bridging the digital divide between urban and rural schools but is also providing continued quality education to students in remote rural areas through the power of technology.