The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected education in India as more than 320 million students have been affected by various restrictions and lockdowns. The digital, gender and class divide has hindered the transition to online classes.
SRF Foundation, the CSR arm of SRF Ltd, has launched several offline and online educational initiatives for students in its intervention locations.
‘Mohalla Classes’ (Community/ Street Classes) is one of the initiatives that the foundation reaches out to students who do not have access to the digital infrastructure where teachers go from street to street teaching a limited number of students in open spaces while following COVID-19 protocols.
To promote reading practices among the students, SRF Foundation launched the ‘Community Library’ initiative, where books were distributed to students according to their reading levels by their teachers or SRF Foundation’s staff.
As ‘Science’ is one such subject which required practical hands-on experience. Community Science Lab or ‘Vigyan Chaupal’ and ‘Avishkar Mobile Science Van’ are other initiatives launched by SRF Foundation to provide students with practical applications of scientific models and equipment. These mobile vans are furnished with huge speakers which helped to blare lessons on various subjects out in the middle of the community, to encourage students to learn (amidst social distancing) without the need for any personal technology.
Teachers and institutions are not always trained and equipped to transition to online teaching. Many teachers struggle when it comes to using new technologies and interfaces, and unfortunately, most government teachers were not able to adapt to the new mode of teaching. According to India Today, at least 84% of the teachers in government schools struggled with delivering education via digital mediums.
To combat this issue, SRF Foundation provided training to teachers on how to use digital platforms to teach students, how to use presentations, Google forms, quizzes and other educational software in the daily teaching-learning process.
To To reach children online, SRF Foundation initiated WhatsApp-based classrooms and Zoom-based classrooms in all of its 24 intervention locations. Not to mention, teachers also included online quizzes to keep the learning interactive and engaging through these difficult times. Together with headmasters, they also encouraged the continuous discovery of arts and culture through storytelling and poetry sessions by recording audio of various poems and stories and sharing them through the most accessible WhatsApp, and Zoom.
Furthermore, SRF Foundation is empowering the teachers by providing them access to digital infrastructure and training in managing the same in the digital labs – HP World on Wheels, HP Common Service Labs and IndiGo GetSmart to conduct virtual classes.
Students are able to access these classes via their smartphones and such classes are then recorded and circulated. To combat the issue of lack of digital literacy in rural areas, in partnership with IndiGo, HP India and Capgemini, SRF Foundation is conducting a computer literacy course for people in the age group of 14-60 years, helping them embrace technology in their day-to-day life.
Over the summer holidays, SRF Foundation has initiated several online initiatives in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic such as the Digital Summer Camp and Atal Summer Camp.
While Digital Summer Camp was about promoting creativity and learning via DIY art and craft activities, storytelling, book reading, low-cost experiments, subject-wise worksheets, online quizzes and recognition of the students, Atal Summer Camp was about training teachers and 110 students from across 26 government schools in the latest technologies of 3D printing, IoT, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Scratch Programming, animation, microelectronics, 21st-century skills of collaboration, critical thinking and design thinking.
SRF Foundation has been strategically carrying out educational initiatives to provide quality education to students studying in its intervention schools. SRF Foundation runs one of the largest community-centric quality education programs in and around its manufacturing plant locations as well as in other parts of the country in partnership with like-minded organizations, imparting education and vocational training programs to underprivileged children and youth by improving both hard and soft infrastructure facilities in Government schools, promoting computer-aided learning, and through the digital inclusion of communities.