TRANSFORMING EDUCATION BY BRINGING INNOVATION IN RURAL SCHOOLS
Vidya-Jyoti is a program that relies on bringing innovation into the rural classroom to transform the quality of education in remote schools. We are rolling out a custom-designed solution, which is a combination of simple-to-use technology, low-cost high-value content, and process driven execution. At its root, Vidya Jyoti is a program that relies on bringing grass-root innovation into the rural classroom by enabling the teachers.
The essence of the design of the Vidya-Jyoti solution is to setup a hub of technology that is easy to learn and use. By exposing the village schools to digital technology, we are facilitating their development to leapfrog to the latest and most innovative ideas. The knowledge that we bring to the local communities will be decided by the local needs and capacity to use. The idea is to create hubs of many knowledge-centric activities in the villages. This will be our focus from Year 2 onwards.
In our work, we have observed, most schools in remote and rural areas suffer from non-availability of qualified teachers, limited teaching skills amongst teachers, poor infrastructure, and lack of financial and structural support from local governments. This, in turn, has a direct impact on the quality of education imparted to the young students in these schools.
The key to improving the quality of education in these remote schools is to address the problem of teachers – they are either too few, too ignorant, or simply not there.
1. Bringing high-quality video content from CLT India’s e-pathshale platform http://www.cltindia.org to give schools a massive library of 4000 videos on an easy-to-use Android device as per NCERT, for Grades 5 to 10 across the subjects of Maths, Science and English.
2. Conducting digital classes (evidyaloka) over video-conference. 4-6 classes every week by volunteer teachers from across India and the world.
3. Conducting teacher training, enrichment, and enablement programs.
4. Conducting career counseling, career awareness, and life skills programs for students.
5. Innovation Yatra for selected teachers to Agastya Foundation (www.agastya.org) at their Kuppam campus. This is to be followed by setting up of Gramonnati Innovation Kendra in the schools with these teachers taking lead in bringing innovative approaches to classroom.
6. Providing low-cost, easy-to-use portable technology for schools, which includes a laptop, battery operated DLP projection system, video camera + mic, and Bluetooth speakers.
APPROACH AND PLANS FOR 2019
Over the last six months, Gramonnati has been working closely with Army authorities and civil administration in Rajouri and Poonch districts in J&K. These border districts have seen a dramatic improvement in return of peace in the last few years but remain backward with low quality of education. There are over 3000 Government and Private schools in these two districts. Many of these schools, particularly in remote areas and near LoC, are being run by local Army, BSF and Police units. Most such schools are small in size with 100-500 students and few teachers.
Vidya-Jyoti has been deployed in two schools (Model Academy Sagra, Balnoi, Poonch; Tender Feet School, Keri, Rajouri) and one children’s home, Daksh, in Rajouri town since Sep 2018. Six teachers have undergone Teachers’ Innovation Workshop at Agastya Foundation at their Kuppam campus recently. We are in the process of arranging volunteer teachers who will take remote classes through eVidyaloka platform. The early response is very encouraging.
Our Plan for Vidya-Jyoti in 2019
a. Phase I. Take Vidya-Jyoti to 20 schools in the two districts in next six months. The list of schools has been identified with Indian Army and local Civil Administration; the same is attached.
b. Phase II. Roll-out Vidya -Jyoti in 100 schools. We will be working with Indian Army and village level functionaries (Sarpanches) for this phase.
•Enhancing student learning through multi-modal digital content.
•Providing quality education via technology that is low cost, high value and scalable for students in classrooms and community spaces.
•Bringing innovations in learning and pedagogy into the rural classrooms.
•Setting up and operating innovation centres for education and learning that brings the latest technology, ideas and knowledge into rural schools.
•Evolving the school as a hub of learning and social impact activities in the village
BENEFITS AND IMPACT
Short-term benefits (Year 1)
• Improved quality of education in the school through improved availability and capability of teachers and multi-modal educational content
• Increased awareness and adoption of digital technology enabling self-paced learning
Mid-term and Long-term Benefits
•Measurable improvement of academic performance of students of the school
•Preparing students for 21 st century job skills, entrepreneurial activities
•Seeding of the innovative possibilities of the future for students through experience and exposure
Vidya Jyoti is a high impact initiative by Gramonnati Trust with the support of Sri Aurobindo Society. Our program, by virtue of its planned scale and depth across India is one of the major projects under the “Renaissance of India” Program of Sri Aurobindo Society.