Mumbai, March 5, 2021: Due to the pandemic, education for underprivileged students has come to a complete standstill. They have no school, lectures, teachers, books or even basic stationery. There are a variety of options available for students studying in private institutions; however, there are none that specifically have students studying in Government Schools as their target audience.
For many of the underprivileged children’s parents, food and other essential items have taken a higher priority than education. Children are forced to drop out and child labour. Early marriage of girl children has gone up during the pandemic.
Even after we have the vaccine the lives of these children and their families will not return to normal straight away.
SMS India Pvt Ltd, (SMS Group, a Germany subsidiary), a leading plant supplier to the metallurgical industry, and Spherule Foundation, a non-profit organisation joined hands to help government school students whose academic growth was halted due to the lockdown and are on verge of dropping out.
Spherule Foundation along with CSR partner, SMS India Pvt Ltd, helped 1000 students of government schools by providing them stationery kits and workbooks for the entire academic year. To all needy students, they are providing monthly mobile data packs so that students can attend online classes. Students who do not have an android phone are providing access to Tabs through their educators, who conduct classes in communities and give access to Tabs and the internet to such students. Currently, under this project, they are running four educational centres in Pune (Mundhwa and Hadapsar slums) and two centres in Kolkata city.
Many extracurricular activities along with regular academic classes are conducted in these centres. All students are provided free digital education through a learning app “InstaShala” developed by Spherule Foundation. InstaShala makes learning fun and easy for students and has content from Grade 1 to Grade 10 of Maharashtra and West Bengal Board.
Under this project, they are generating awareness around the importance of education and also counselling parents so that they encourage their children to study.
Along with parents, they are also training government schools teachers on:
Digital teaching: Whatsapp, google forms, google drive, etc;
Content creation: Presentations and video recording with basic editing;
Upload videos on YouTube and on the learning app;
How to use Google Meet/Zoom.
Teachers can therefore take online education and use the available software for teaching.
Now as schools have partially begun, they have also started providing oximeters, thermal guns and sanitisers to schools so that students can safely come and study.
With this project, they aim to reverse dropouts and bring underprivileged students back to schools. They will continue this effort in coming years too.