As COVID-19 pandemic hampered the regular schooling procedure, teachers in Rajasthan under the state education department upheld a campaign to bring ‘SMILE’ back on students. The modes of education were upgraded in accordance to contemporary needs and to cover the technological divide many teachers travelled to homes of otherwise less privileged students.
Under Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot guidance, to ensure continuity of education, the SMILE (Social Media Interface for Learning Engagement) initiative started in April and ensure more reach and greater effectiveness, the Aao Ghar Mein Seekhein campaign was envisaged. In this campaign, students, and teachers receive daily video content via WhatsApp across grades 1 to 12. For each topic, a module of 4 to 5 videos has been curated with 30-40 minutes of content using free and publicly available resources.
Under the Aao Ghar Me Seekhein campaign, through strong communication and diligent monitoring, on an average of 3.5 lakh students log on each day to the content and the viewership has even reached upto 4.56 lakh students on its peak.
Dr. Bhanwar Lal, Commissioner, Rajasthan Council of School Education Said, “During the lockdown, our team came forward for initiating the SMILE Campaign in rural and urban Rajasthan. However, not all of our students had smart phones or access to quality internet, many of them were from villages. That is why we decided to take school to home of such students. Teachers visited such students at their homes, cleared their doubts and issued homework. From the beginning, we knew that fulfilling 3.5 lakh student’s needs, is not going to be easy but we did it very successfully with the help of our teachers.”
Going ahead, SMILE content is to continue to be a source of learning content for students as only grades 6-12 have returned to school. SMILE digital content in the future can be a tool to complement the in-school teaching being conducted.