The innovative use of social media and other digital learning is helping teachers of a small village in Ahmedabad taluka tackle the online education challenge.
It is also helping them keep a tab on their students progress.
The teachers of Ropda village are using Whatsapp groups to encourage parents to actively participate in the education of their students.
They are also using it to check whether students are doing their homework or not.
Take the case of Bhagwatiben, a parent who herself has studied up to class 4.
Yet, she oversees the homework of four kids in her own family and eight in the neighbourhood.
She ensures that the children do their homework.
And how does she do that? Bhagwatiben is told of the daily homework through a Whatsapp group by the teachers of the government school.
Schools are closed, but education should not stop
The school in the village operates on the motto that education should not stop because schools are closed.
The teachers have formed a WhatsApp group with parents.
The teachers explain to the parents how to get the homework done for each subject.
This explanation helps even someone like Bhagwatiben to take charge of the responsibility to get the homework done.
The teachers have also distributed home-learning study material to students in the village as well as unit test books.
Nishithbhai, the principal of the school said that the teachers also put in youtube links of classes that are telecast on DD Girnar channel.
He said putting the YouTube link helps parents also go through the lessons and understand it.
It also helps them know what was taught during the day.
In case a student misses a class for the entire week, the teachers use the link to teach the students about topics covered in his/her absence.
The homework is also submitted digitally.
Other online education initiatives
The teachers also ask that a photo or video of students doing their homework be sent on the Whatsapp group.
Children are also encouraged to interact with teachers through social media and apps to discuss various issues.
The teachers also personally visit each home for new admission to class 1.
They then fill in the details and ensure that students were given online admission for the new academic year.
The school also organises online summer camps for its students.
Where online education cannot reach, people are stepping in
For Jashubhai and his family who lives on a farm, a tablet for online education was out of the question.
Apart from affordability, he lacked electricity too.
Hence, watching lessons on television was not feasible either for children.
But his daughter, who studied in the village school stepped in to help her brother and neighbouring children.
The girl made use of the Whatsapp group to understand
what was taught and then came to teach her siblings and neighbouring kids.