It’s common perception that schools are going digital and that classes are being taken to children via laptops and smartphones. That’s for the privileged section of the society. As per UNICEF, 76% of children in India do not have access to those facilities. Technology has become the new divide between the haves and the have nots.
Over 200 million children are on the wrong side of this divide. It is particularly bad for children in rural and remote regions of the country. The situation is not helped by the lack of in-person interaction between students and teachers. That itself affects their cognitive development in the longer run.
At Smile Foundation, we reached out to all of our 50,000 students to ensure that not a single one loses out on their education. We activated our partner school and community based organisations to take tab-based and app-based solutions to children.
Where digital devices and internet connections cannot reach, teachers are keeping in touch with children through phone calls and texts. As part of some government initiatives, radio is also a part of remote learning solutions in villages. Teachers in our Mission Education centres prepare video lessons to be shared with children via WhatsApp or video conferencing facilities. Children are also encouraged to participate in activities and competitions of art and literature.
Government and non-governmental organisation like ours will have to work relentlessly towards making digital learning a reality for every child across the country.