India, October 7, 2020: Without causing any break in the education of rural underprivileged kids during the ongoing pandemic, Larsen & Toubro Public Charitable Trust (LTPCT) has taken education at the doorsteps of more than 23,000 underprivileged children in rural areas across multiple States through its flagship programme – Vidya.
As the pandemic has forced India’s schooling system into a digital divide, Larsen &Toubro’s charitable trust has collaborated with SAP’s CODE Unnati – a corporate-to-citizen, digital literacy and IT skills development initiative by SAP India through community and parental engagement model. Two prominent NGOs working in the education field, Pratham Education Foundation and Agastya Foundation, joined hands in conducting digital educational activities and science education programmes during the most difficult period of the pandemic and lockdown.
Commenting on this programme’s success, an L&T Spokesperson said, “During the global pandemic, the social responsibility of many companies was targeted towards their own employees, their families and their immediate communities. But the public charitable trust by Larsen & Toubro (LTPCT) has always managed to make good on its commitments to the society at large.”
Project Vidya conducted online summer camps, special radio programmes for tribal students in the hinterlands of Talasari, a tribal block in Palghar district of Maharashtra. It also conducted online classes for Class X students in Gujarat and engaged in innovative science education in Talasari, Ahmednagar and Talegaon in Maharashtra, Kharel, Navsari, Hazira, Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat, Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Faridabad in Haryana as well as Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu. LTPCT has also conducted online teachers training in Gujarat.
Vidya leveraged on parental engagement in Talasari. This model involves appointing ‘Cluster Resource Persons’ (CRP) and Sancharaks, who are either mothers or young graduates from the same community, trained in early childhood content, parenting, counselling and digital education. They are assigned families in the area to whom they provide support through calls and home visits. Currently, the education sessions are conducted over calls and WhatsApp.
“While structures and strategies are being put in place, what is needed for the children at rural and low-income communities is a bit more parental engagement and supervision. Parental counselling encourages children to learn to engage in self-study, develop new interests or learn to look at things through a lens and realise the importance of learning during the pandemic times,” added the spokesperson.
The CRPs and Sancharaks connected with the students and the local community through WhatsApp groups and conducted digital summer camps. Every morning, the CRPs would post tasks to students on the groups and students would share their work and experience back in the group by the end of the day. Craft activities and simple science experiments were also conducted online during the summer camps.
In Gujarat, the Teacher Training Programme covering seven talukas and reached out to 700-plus teachers. Project Vidya created videos for 10th Standard students to explain science topics like electromagnetism, the complexities of the human brain, types of chemical reactions, etc. They also conducted online classes for Class X students in the State.
Additionally, LTPCT Ahmednagar created and shared exciting stories from the life of many scientists with underprivileged students. The Ahmednagar and Talegaon teams also participated in the ‘Youth Challenge’ organised by UNICEF and Design for change. While in Coimbatore, the Vidya team conducted COVID safety precautions activities such as making masks, handwash techniques. Personality development activities were also conducted for the residents of the area.