Covid-19 pandemic has changed the dimensions of education. With schools shut, teachers have started with the new academic year through online classes. However, students from rural areas are facing a setback because of no access to electronic gadgets which can facilitate their need to attend online classes.
To solve the issue, Pune Zilla Parishad (ZP) education department along with ThinkSharp Foundation started a pilot project, Home School, at Gorhe Budruk village in Haveli taluka of Pune district. Under the project, all students of Class 4 to 7 from Gorhe Budruk village have been given educational tablets and other necessary facilities to enable them to attend online classes.
“We have planned to implement a home-schooling model which will provide educational tablets and other facilities to all 75 children from Classes 4 to 7 of the Zilla Parishad school in Gorhe Budruk village. These tablets will help students connect with their teachers and attend online classes and will also have a library of 1,500 e-books to read along with other educational apps. This will allow them to study online and offline,” said Santosh Phad founder of ThinkSharp Foundation.
Rajnikant Mendhe, Zilla Parishad teacher from the village school, said, “In rural areas, disinterest in studies accounts for 20.24 per cent of schoolchildren, hence, some students, especially younger ones, may totally lose their interest in studies, making it difficult to incentivise them back into school. More importantly a crisis like Covid-19 pandemic, forces the parents to take their kids to work to earn money and as soon as money starts flowing in, parents become reluctant to send their kids back to school. We are currently working through all obstacles such as lack of resources, connectivity issues, and rural stereotypes to make this mission a success. Despite these hurdles, the children that could attend these online classes, even for a short period of time, showed a high amount of interest and motivation towards learning more about the world around them. This showed us the need for the development of digital infrastructure for these students, so that their learning never stops.”
The ThinkSharp Foundation has raised Rs 4 lakh along with the help of students of an international school for the project. Last week, Maharashtra education minister Varsha Gaikwad also acknowledged the project through a virtual meeting with the students and teachers of the school who have started using tablets. Apart from the regular curriculum, due to digital learning, children are also getting the opportunity to learn foreign languages through volunteers. One such volunteer is Mansi Mehta from Mumbai who has now started online sessions on German language learning.
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