Along with the rest of the world, COVID-19 has had an immense impact on students and educators. In India, the vast scale of learning systems has required tailored solutions to ensure learning continues regardless of the virus and that we leave no learner behind. AIF’s Digital Equalizer (DE) program, which was designed as an in-school intervention, had to be nimble enough to meet the challenge ahead of it and pivot to developing and implementing a robust remote learning strategy. The DE program has quickly shifted it’s educators and students to virtual platforms like Google Meets, WhatsApp groups and MS team to conduct classes online. Thanks in part to the generous support of The Desai Sethi Foundation, AIF was able to make this dramatic shift in tactics without students missing vital educational progress.
Vinod Vinzuda, AIF-DE Cluster Coordinator says – “it was important to take away the hesitation in parents, and students about access to virtual classrooms. With the willingness of teachers and authorities, we have reached 100% children in Amreli”
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, India has enforced one of the strongest lockdowns in the world. For students, it’s more difficult as the gap in their studies is increasing and their schools most likely will not open for some time. Not surprisingly, the global lockdown of educational institutions is causing major interruption in students’ continued learning. Sometime in the second week of March, state governments across India began shutting down schools temporarily as a preemptive measure to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. It’s more than four months and there is no certainty when the schools will reopen. Only a handful of private schools have adopted online teaching methods but the majority of government schools have been shut down for not having effective e-learning solutions. To ensure continuity of education/ learning in the DE schools, AIF has launched its remote learning program, as an e-learning solution in Amreli, Gujarat.
At present, the DE program is pleased to have engaged with 100% of supported schools, reaching 100% of teachers and around 60% of students through online social media platforms.
AIF has been trying to increase the DE program’s reach on a month-by-month basis. The program has targeted those students who don’t have access to mobile phones, Internet or laptops, ensuring 100% coverage of students through remote learning and ensuring continuity of learning among the DE enrolled students. Details of the students with access to phone are given in the graph below:
Some of the interventions AIF’s DE program has instituted to serve students and educators during this time include:
- Effective planning for students without the technology to participate.
- Forming WhatsApp groups with peer-to-peer learning for teachers in the formation of student groups
- Planning schedules and lesson plans with teachers
- Training the teachers on remote learning methods
- Virtual classes for the students who can participate.
- Dedicated class timeslots for teachers and students
- Instruction by teachers through voice messages/recorded videos
- Continuation of vital STEM activities and learning
- Field visits with students, teachers and community members
- Parent-Teacher remote communication and conferences
- Best Practices of maintaining records to ensure an unbroken educational timeline for each student
To date, the Digital Equalizer program has impacted over 4.1 million children in India. You can also provide support in #RebuildingLives for underprivileged children by donating here: https://aif.org/donate/covid-19-response/