A group of young professionals has developed a new way to provide interesting content to rural classrooms. Aiming to bridge the education gap, the technology provides the prescribed syllabus in a fun and interactive manner.
As per the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2012, only about 50 percent of Standard 3 students could read a Standard 1 text book in 2008. But by 2012, it had further declined to 30 percent. About 50 percent of Standard 3 kids cannot even correctly recognise digits up to 100, while they are supposed to learn two-digit subtraction. In 2008, about 70 percent of the kids could do this.
These statistics show the alarming rate at which the quality of primary education in the country is falling. And a group of 20-something young professionals are trying to address the issue through their initiative, ConnectEd.
To improve the learning environment, the team has launched ‘Smart Classroom’ system to introduce interesting audio-visual content into every classroom through a battery-operated HD projector.
The device has a two-hour battery life with built-in speakers and a provision to add separate speakers. In addition to this, a solar-powered kit is also provided to power all the equipment in cases of long periods without electricity.
The content produced by the device is prepared according to the syllabus prescribed by the state board and is created keeping the rural students in mind. The language of instruction of a particular school is also kept in mind while designing the content.
The objective of this ‘rural-friendly’ initiative is to build a comprehensive teacher-aid product that supports the teacher in every rural classroom, as he/she handles various subjects and concepts.
“A lot has been done to increase student enrolment in rural areas and these efforts have been successful. However, this has increased the burden on teachers and infrastructure. We at ConnectEd believe that private players like us can play a big role in aiding the Government to ease this burden on the schooling system. We are thankful to the Education Ministry of Maharashtra, JSW Steel and DHFL for seeing merit in our product and supporting its implementation in Palghar. We soon plan to take this solution to other areas of the state and the country as well, enabling underprivileged youth all across to contribute to the India growth story,” says Lehar Tawde, co-founder, ConnectEd.
In its first phase, the initiative will be introduced in Palghar taluka of Maharashtra, where the ConnectEd team is working to benefit over 27,000 children of 5th to 10th standard this year with help from local authorities and businesses.
Unlike conventional technology solutions installed in these schools in the past, these solutions are designed specifically for the rural market. The content is designed as per the state board curriculum and is focused on rural students. The hardware is also designed in a way to suit the village environment and infrastructure.
Appreciating the new initiative, Vinod Tawde, Education Minister of Maharashtra said: “Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi launched the Digital India programme with the vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Education is one of the key focus areas of this programme, and I am proud to announce this innovative rural education project which will benefit thousands of children in the Palghar district of Maharashtra. The fact that this project is being spearheaded by a dynamic young team with the support of socially-responsible corporates is extremely heartening, and we hope to see more such collaborations in the future.”
The initiative was launched on November 14, 2015 in Palghar district of Maharashtra. What better way to celebrate Children’s day? Check out their website to know more about the project.