Technical difficulties

by Ravi Dhanuka
Munger district, Bihar

Edu-leader Alka reading a story to her student on the phone

During the lockdown, education has moved online. But what are children who don’t have access to digital spaces supposed to do?

According to a survey conducted by i-Saksham, only 50 percent of the 500 families surveyed had smart phones or a data plan, as compared to 100 percent that had a basic phone at home. With this in mind, Alka, an edu-leader from Farda, in Bihar’s Munger district, has started using regular conference calls to teach children.

Edu-leaders are youth (between the ages of 18 and 27) from the community, who are trained to provide supplementary teaching assistance at local government schools. During the pandemic, these leaders are being called upon to find innovative ways to continue engaging with children who are at home.

Tapping into each family’s access to a basic phone plan, Alka reads out stories to her students, creates assignments they can do at home (such as counting utensils to improve numeracy skills), and tries to get their family members involved (for example, having grandparents conduct story-telling sessions to improve language learning).

Her approach is a reminder of how youth leadership and community engagement can improve the delivery of public services. While technology has the capacity to reach people, it needs to be adapted to meet the contextual needs of its target population.

Ravi Dhanuka is the founder and CEO of the i-Saksham Education and Learning Foundation.

Know more: Read about how to make EdTech more accessible and engaging for children across the country.

Do more: Connect with the author at ravi@i-saksham.org to understand more about and support his work.

View next

Read next

Follow us
Get smart. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter, IDR Edit.

IDR is India’s first independent media platform for the development community.

We publish cutting edge ideas, lessons and insights, written by and for the people working on some of India’s toughest problems. Our job is to make things simple and relevant, so you can do more of what you do, better.

IDR is produced in partnership with Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact
© 2020 India Development Review    
India Development Review is published by the Forum for Knowledge and Social Impact, a not-for-profit company registered under Section 8 of the Company Act, 2013.
CIN: U93090MH2017NPL296634