COVID-19 Response: How we continued educating throughout the lock down.
By Isha, Volunteer at MCWF
"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do."
During the second week of March, after the Holi vacations, the government ordered a temporary closedown of all the educational institutions along with public transports the markets, malls, etc. The apprehensive and severe impact of coronavirus has shaken the world to its core. The government implemented a nationwide lockdown and the closure of educational institutions was continued. As a result of this, the learning of students ranging from pre-schools to universities was affected. To minimise the impacts of this situation on students, most of the schools and colleges shifted their focus to e-learning.
This pandemic significantly disrupted the education of the students at our NGO. With no schools and no coaching classes, their study became a matter of concern for all our volunteers at MCWF.
Because we knew that if there would be a long gap and they lose the momentum, the years of hard work would go in vain. Since most of the students belong to the marginalized communities, and they lack the resources for the online classroom, so this was nowhere possible for us to organise classes on digital platforms like zoom and Google meet. Sometime in the second week of April, our team came up with an idea to hold classes on audio conferencing call. Since this was a new concept and we were about to do an experiment, so, we decided to organise classes for students of grade 10th only. There were 6 to 7 students in class 10th who were ready to study on phone calls. Photocopies of the study material were sent to their home. Initially, Krishna sir, Renu ma'am and Ajay sir (our volunteering members) took the responsibility to take classes for social sciences. After successfully completing 13 hours of teaching for class 10th just within two weeks, we increased the duration of classes to two hours for class 10th. And we also started classes for the standard 9th and 12th grades. Subsequently, we started the classes for other subjects too like mathematics, physics, chemistry, home science and biology. A new concept of co-ordinators was introduced to make things smooth and easy. Each co-ordinator was given a responsibility to look after the classes and schedules of their respective class. Dharmaraj sir was appointed as the coordinator for class 12th, Prerna Ma'am for class 9th, and I was assigned as the coordinator of class 10th. From the month of June, we started classes for the standard 5th and 7th. Yashika ma'am was appointed to coordinate these two classes.
Teaching on phone calls isn't easy at all. We have to face a lot of difficulties related to network and poor audio quality, a limited number of students can be connected on a conference call, discipline and lack of study environment.
Since there isn't any visual connect, it usually takes more time to complete most of the topics. But amidst of all these complications, our volunteers are working with a lot of patience and enthusiasm to make the teaching more helpful and understanding for the students in the slums and villages.
With the efforts and support of everyone, we have successfully completed 117 hours of teaching for class 12th, 172 hours for class 10th, 112 hours for class 9th and 32 hours of teaching for class 5th and 7th in the last two months only. And we are connected to all the students through this audio conferencing.
But we haven't stopped here since the main motive of our foundation is to look after all-round development of students. We have started taking motivational classes, classes related to general knowledge and awareness. We have planned to involve students in different research works by giving them different projects and by ensuring their 100% participation. Currently, we have Dharmaraj sir, Renu ma'am, Sourav sir and Ashutosh sir for class 12th, Abhishek sir, Renu ma'am, Anjali ma'am, Ajay sir, Shubhra ma'am and Raj sir for class 10th, Pranay sir, Piyush sir, Vijay sir, Shivangi ma'am and Manish sir, Pallavi ma'am for class 9th. Katyayani ma'am, Mausami ma'am for class 7th and Yashika ma'am, Durgesh sir and Anupam sir for class 6th. We're even ready with this month's edition of Ankuran, the children's magazine developed by our students and volunteer. Despite all the odds, our team hasn't stopped to serve our purpose of imparting education and holding high the morale and hopes of our children.