Connecting At-Risk Children with E-Learning
Covid-19 has changed the traditional chalk–talk teaching model to one driven by technology. With the new academic session commencing in April this year children in rural areas are without books, instructions, or guidance. This might lead to an increase in learning deficits and drop-out rates of children, who may have to face child labour or early and forced marriage. These children, who are first generation learners, belong to the lowest rungs of society, are caught up with a livelihood challenge now face a stark vacuum.
This disruption in the delivery of education is pushing Government/ Academia to figure out how to drive engagement at scale while ensuring inclusive e-learning solutions and tackling the digital divide. In India, several state governments have started pushing e-content through WhatsApp mode. Since GoodWeave is running its Child Friendly Community program for the children of weavers and artisans in Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, we are also adapting to the new normal.
Immediate measures which are being taken by GoodWeave India team to ensure continuity of learning in its geographies include use of curated digital learning solutions. By collecting phone numbers of parents of at-risk* children and validating the same for smart phones, GoodWeave India has introduced its home grown e-content through WhatsApp.
GW has been able to maximize the interactions by sending curated content in the form of videos, links to educational sites and assignments on WhatsApp, all the while interacting with students on phone through its field team. Students have not only been given homework assignments, but are also asked to explain their learning on phone. The field team has started sending content everyday in the morning and follows it up in the evening by calling the parent. The content includes accessing an educational animation or a story and followed by some questions posed by Community Facilitators in the evening.
Between 15th April to 7th May, 2020 GoodWeave has been able to connect 2,390 at-risk children with virtual educational services using WhatsApp, and counting.
*at-risk – The children who are vulnerable to becoming child labourers (never enrolled and drop out children, irregular children and the children who are poor in academics)
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