eVidyaloka- Enabling Digital Education In Rural India, Despite All Odds.

Innovation & Program

February, 2021

   

Enabling digital education in rural India, despite all odds.

eVidyaloka is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on transforming the educational landscape of  rural India. Registered under the Trusts Act, the organization creates digital classrooms for children in  remote villages, with the support of local communities and Volunteer Teachers from across the globe.  With standardized lesson plans and teaching aids for a consistent learning experience, the children  from government schools receive quality education for a promising and rewarding future.  

On March 15, 2020, all schools across India were closed due to the COVID19 pandemic and the  consequent lockdown. 290 million children in India were affected as schools were shut and  economic insecurity layered on to the health & life threat that loomed large on rural India. Recent  reports have emerged that the impact of the pandemic has led to millions of children being out of  school. 

The eVidyaloka Digital Classroom Program wherein volunteer teachers from across the globe teach  children in rural government schools by leveraging  technology, was also affected. Children from rural government schools couldn’t immediately transition to online  classes like most of their counterparts in urban schools

To counter this and ensure that rural India continues its  learning, eVidyaloka worked towards a learning model with  the rural context and limitations in mind.  

The Learn from Home (LFH) multi-modal approach enabled them to bridge the gap of learning. The model  stemmed from piloting the concept of learning from home  during emergencies. While live classes on smartphones were  seen as the fastest route to reach the students, the access to  the internet and availability of smartphones for children was  the biggest impediment. To counter this, they expanded their LFH model as a multi-modal delivery approach, to reach  children with support from their Program Class Assistant.

Pre-recorded videos were used to explain  concepts and along with this live classes were  held through video conferencing apps to facilitate  interaction between volunteer teachers and  students. 

Additionally, with a successful pilot in June 2020,  they added another platform to Teach Through  Television (TTT), via local television operators.  This reached out to those students who could not  access smartphones. The content was developed  with the support of their volunteer teachers for  Math and Science for grades 5-8.

They also introduced the Worksheet Model which reaches students who do not have access to  smartphones and this was also used as an additional tool to reinforce the learning concepts that  students saw on videos. Class Assistants have taken ownership to distribute the worksheets, assist the  students with any queries, escalate the unresolved queries to the Volunteer Teachers, and share feedback  accordingly with students. 

At eVidyaloka, their delivery  coordinators and  implementation  partners have played a huge role in being constantly in touch with each other, the local communities and parents to understand the on-ground reality. Month-on-month, they work together to  help increase the intervention across villages to ensure that more children can learn and that rural  India continues to learn. Currently, the Learn from Home Model has reached over 180 villages.  

The multipurpose use of the gadgets and platforms – live classes, chats over apps, screenshot sharing  student submissions, lessons through TV, and worksheets have created many opportunities for  students to learn. This has also helped students understand and use technology which would help them  in the long run. The role of the Class Assistant who ensures LFH classes run seamlessly has been  critical. Committed volunteers who understand the limitations in time slots and constraints of learning  with poor mobile connectivity have adapted their lesson plans to the situation, and are focused on  ensuring that children continue to learn. Teachers share links, homework details with children through  various communication channels for students who face network issues or miss a class. While  challenges on internet connectivity and access to mobile phones continue, localized solutions to issues  have helped in the uptake of the program.  

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