Initiative Education

Say ‘YES’ to inclusive learning

No child ought to miss out on learning and education. While access is a problem for some, yet others lose out due to a language barrier. For instance, students, especially in rural areas, may not be equipped with adequate English language skills, leading to low retention levels. This is the gap that Bal Krishna Shukla is trying to bridge with YesGuruJi, an edupreneurial venture for Hindi-medium students in the small towns and rural areas of northern India. According to a 2019 KPMG study, infrastructure for education delivery is lacking by at least 30% across Uttar Pradesh, and this has an adverse effect on the quality of education. In response to this, YesGuruJi provides a simpler and more relaxed learning environment.

Bridging the gap

Shukla explains how the five-member team came together and decided to piggyback on the ubiquitous phone and Internet connections. “The idea that connects us is our passion for accessible and inclusive education. To curate content, we have an advisory team for each subject. The most effective, and long-term way to give back to society would be to bridge the gap in education. We looked for a solution that was both scalable and something that could reach the most deprived hinterlands and demographics. The concept of online education fulfilled every need.”

The company was launched in August 2018 and has been uploading videos since May 2019.Over time, the founders evolved many ideas to make lessons simpler, and more contextualised. Users’ insights have been incorporated in subsequent lessons. The focus is primarily on adolescents, who have the highest drop-out rates, especially girls. In order to help the largest underprivileged sections, the team began with government curriculum for schools and have already uploaded content for class XI, and intends to create content for classes VII -XII.

Shukla elaborates on how YesGuruji tutors students in conversational Hindi, thus simplifying and demystifying even complex science concepts, which are deemed most difficult.

Programmes offered

The members include a doctor, an engineer, a professor, a management graduate and a journalist. “As a team, we went through various online lectures, and surveyed students and guardians in that demographic. This helped us come up with scientifically structured methods of teaching, as close to conventional teaching as possible, but with all the benefits of online teaching. Thus, most of the theorems, diagrams, charts and complex calculations are done on the board, literally with chalk, just like in the classroom,” adds Shukla. “The possibility to vary the speed of the videos further enables students to customise the explanations and keep the speed/repetitions to what suits their individual levels better. Initially, we focussed on English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Math — subjects where most students in the Hindi heartland face serious hurdles. Based on feedback, we will add more.”

The road ahead

Current video classes are based on the latest NCERT-aided curriculum. For the short-term, the team intends to develop/acquire abilities to answer specific questions/problems by students so they can better understand their course. It also aspires to make YesGuruji a platform that teachers can refer to and supplement their limited resources in class. This also ties in with their plans to develop integrated courses in other classes and subjects. “Our vision is to make the Hindi-belt students as competitive and as confident as their CBSE and ICSE counterparts,” says Shukla.


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Printable version | Sep 26, 2021 2:40:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/say-yes-to-inclusive-learning/article32051188.ece

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