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Amid pandemic, Rajasthan’s initiative improves access to education

About 85 lakh students in the government schools across the State were confined to their homes for several months during the pandemic.  

A new initiative launched in Rajasthan with appropriate use of technology has led to access of students to both online and offline modes of learning during COVID-19, with the availability of synchronised competency-based contents, supplemented by home visits of teachers. The innovative solution has also addressed the digital divide in the desert State.

The Aao Ghar Mein Seekhein (let’s learn at home) programme, started by the Education Department, has succeeded as a multi-modal approach to learning. It has enabled the government schools to create and disseminate contents, monitor the key metrics and carry out periodic assessment of students through ingenious models.

About 85 lakh students in the government schools across the State were confined to their homes for several months during the pandemic. The programme ensured uninterrupted connection of students with the education system while minimising the anticipated learning losses before the schools reopened for IX to XII classes on September 1 with 50% attendance.

The students of primary and upper primary classes are still pursuing education from home. Sourabh Swami, Director, Secondary Education, told The Hindu on Thursday that the online access points on social media platforms as well as television and radio were being utilised for students along with the distribution of physical worksheets, followed by the teachers’ visits to their homes.

Weekly assessment

The students, who receive educational contents every day, are assessed at the end of the week through a chatbot quiz based on the lessons learnt during the week. During their visits, the teachers clear the doubts of students, conduct Mohalla (neighbourhood) learning sessions, connect with the parents, distribute worksheets and maintain individual student portfolios.

Mr. Swami said the State education portal, Shala Darpan, was being used for an effective monitoring and accountability of the programme. “When we first started, one of our fundamental challenges was that we did not know how many students had digital access. We created specific modules through which each student’s access and learning could be tracked regularly,” he said.

Internal assessments

Mr. Swami said the Education Department’s internal assessments had shown that 42% of the students in government schools were connected digitally, while 57% were connected offline. More than 36 lakh students are registered on the quiz platform and a peak weekly participation of 21 lakh students was achieved recently.

Sarwat Bano, Principal, Mahatma Gandhi Government School, Adarsh Nagar, Jaipur, said the evaluation tests of students in her school were conducted on September 9 to assess the progress made by them during the pandemic. The results would be announced shortly after the completion of data uploading on Shala Darpan portal and their weightage included in the main exams, she said.

Ramcharan Pareek, father of Class XII student Priya and residing in Jaipur’s Raja Park area, said though the programme had succeeded in maintaining the students’ links with regular education, the credit should also be given to the children who had worked hard despite limited resources at home. “My daughter used to visit her school once every week during the lockdown to get guidance from the teachers,” he said.

After the reopening of schools, focus has been laid on bridging the learning gaps during the initial months and introduction of smart classrooms, which will facilitate a blended model of learning. Mr. Swami said the schools would help in “digital empowerment” of students, teachers and parents to build on the progress made in digital learning with the target for democratisation of education in the long term.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 12:43:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/amid-pandemic-rajasthans-initiative-improves-access-to-education/article36506870.ece

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