Our Latest Projects Funded
These times of upheaval, while schooling has completely halted, can be seen as an opportunity to restructure education in a way that brings us even closer to an equal playing field for universal learning. Even in the most remote areas, children should have the right to gain knowledge and thrive- today, tomorrow and after the effects of lockdown.
Beyond food security and medical provisions, our mission for the regions where our Shikshaniketan School and Digital Night Schools are is to keep learning accessible in marginalized communities. Child education has been identified as “the next critical need” to keep communities informed, resilient and better defended during challenging times.
Alumni from The Doon School class of 1982 have contributed a very generous amount of funding towards our latest Education Dissemination Initiatives. We’ve been hard at work ensuring that all of our preexisting programs continue to function despite the global and regional effects of COVID-19.
Alternative Child Education Strategy:
Making teaching capacity democratic and accessible:
- Existing teachers to be connected using video/audio conferencing
- Rural parents to be given the option of going through virtual teacher training to be able to have home classes with their children
Education at Home:
4 scenarios based on Household situations:
Immediate Response in Information Access:
Concentrated WASH & information:
- Disseminating correct information issued by the World Health Organisation regarding COVID-19 through an IVR system
- Providing awareness against fake news and facts circulated through technology
Advocacy for COVID Preparedness:
- Activating Edu-worker, Teacher & VECs to push local panchayat for preparedness and accessing government schemes
- Profiling village medical conditions and Pre-identify gaps for Barefoot College and to access other institutions for medical support
Child Rights and Gender-related conversation:
Social and financial stress vents itself in domestic violence, jeopardizing child safety. Channels of gender sensitization and child rights awareness have to be opened up
Since mid-April, we have begun activities in all of our school locations based on the feedback given by the communities themselves. Student’s parents have been responding very positively so far, sharing their own insight for a rural home context. Utilizing two specially catered programs, we have been keeping the learning in the hands of every child, regardless of their household financial situation.
Shikshaniketan Smartphone Curriculum
Of the 330 students of Shikshaniketan School, Barefoot College, residing in 152 households, 41 families cannot afford to purchase smartphones. This initiative pledges to provide each of those households with a smartphone with full 4G network access so that virtual learning can necessitate socially distanced learning. Teachers share regular learning videos and brief lessons followed by activities can be carried out. By mid-July, we plan to use this technology to facilitate full digital live classrooms. Once regional restrictions have lifted and normal classes commence, the phones will serve as a continued learning tool, democratizing the approach of self-learning.
10 Digital Night Schools of Bihar
In regions where keypad phones are most common and cellular service is limited, voice telecommunication must be the main focus. We’re engaging our education workers and teachers now to create audio clips for learning dissemination over voice messaging systems. These lessons will be accessible in toll-free IVR and are paired with bi-weekly checkup calls from teachers to each individual student. This allows for ongoing engagement and acts as a change to resolve any issues with lessons that they receive. Content includes lessons such as hygiene, our WASH curriculum and gender equality.
Partnered with Katha, a children’s book publisher, we’ve begun to transform educational books into audiobooks. 90 of their publications are becoming tools to promote reading abilities, develop empathy through morale-building lessons and disseminate information. Hard copies of the books are set for distribution across the respective villages to assist with learning. Following the lockdown restrictions, the books will be reused as communication tools at the Digital Night School libraries.
Educational efforts will suffer from this sudden setback only if the means to educate remain rigid in their methods. With newly catered strategies, children and adults can continue their lessons unhindered. This requires thoughtful engagement methods that encourage and propel learning in the meantime, to be bridged back into a classroom style of teaching down the road.
This generous funding has begun the process of leveraging learning opportunities in rural communities. We are currently seeking support to amplify our efforts to keep education in the hands of all children despite the current climate. The adaptability of educational systems is critical to sustaining and uplifting schools, teachers and students in rural India.