Cuttack-based Education Start-Up ThinkZone Helps over 5000 Parents in Odisha Keep their Kids Engaged during the COVID19 Lockdown

Cuttack: ThinkZone, an award winning social impact start-up from Cuttack providing high quality, low-cost education to underserved children in low resource communities and funded by funded by US-based impact investor Gray Matters Capital, has today announced that 5051 families in Odisha and neighbouring states have accessed its home-based learning program using through voice-calls and SMS since the COVID19 lockdown in the state.

‘DIY’ Activities Curated for a Home-based Learning Program

ThinkZone’s Home-based Learning Program comprises a curated set of educational activities for children in the age group of 3-10 years for holistic development.

The primary grade education (Grades 1-5) activities have been designed for developing language and arithmetic skills and are based on the school syllabus (chapter-wise activities) as well NCERT’s(national) alternate learning calendar. Similarly, the activities for early childhood education have been built on themes and activities of Nua Arunima (Odisha state-level ECD curriculum).

The activities can be accessed in Odia, Hindi and English language and according to age and class levels

Education continuity using Non-Internet based Technologies

The uniqueness of this program lies in the way it can be accessed free of cost using Non-Internet based technologies such as Voice Calls supported by Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and SMS.

There are 2 types of voice-call features in this program:

Pull Calling: Parents call the number +91-8750-829-829 and access daily learning modules that they can use to educate their children. The parents also receive learning modules via SMS.

Push Calling: ThinkZone offers the facility for the parent to receive daily 1-2 minutes IVR-based calls and SMS on their mobile phones regarding DIY (do-it-yourself) learning modules. The content is scheduled based on the age level and class of the child.

“Our program has been conceptualized to develop positive parent-child relationships and to enable parents to work towards shaping the learning skills of kids from an early age. It empowers parents to continue engaging and teaching their children at home during the lockdown. The user-friendly modules can be understood and delivered by the parent regardless of their literacy level or type of mobile phone” said Binayak Acharya, Co-Founder and CEO, ThinkZone.

Quantifying the Impact

ThinkZone has witnessed a 4-fold increase in the number of calls received by the parents with 10086 minutes of learning modules consumed by 3338 families. 49% being repeat callers who’d call 2-3 times a week.

ThinkZone’s ‘Push-based’ IVR Calls / SMS have been directly reaching 5051 unique families. A total of 24399 minutes of learning modules have been consumed by these families.

Radio-based learning

ThinkZone has also partnered with FM 104 Radio Choklate for a Radio based learning program which is aired everyday from Monday to Saturday from 4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Commenting on the news deveoplment, Srinita Mitra, Portfolio Manager, Gray Matters Capital said, “Owing to the on-going lockdown, children in under-resourced communities across India are not getting access to education. Most of the education support interventions during this crisis at present are online/app-based and unfortunately out of reach for such students. It was therefore the need of the hour for more simple and accessible technologies to be used for reaching out to these students, something which ThinkZone has demonstrated.”

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