Remedial classes by CSOs connecting thousands of rural children to their education

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Bhubaneswar: With COVID19 pandemic showing no signs of abating, and the glaring digital divide poses a massive challenge in rural Odisha to attend the government’s online classes, a group of CSOs stepped up to initiated remedial classes for rural children, with the help of its members and by engaging the local youth volunteers.

The initiative is being operationalized and have benefited over 3000 students so far in far flung areas of 15 districts e.g. Malkangiri, Koraput, Nabarangapur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Balangir, Boudh, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Nayagarh, Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh, Sambalpur and Jharsuguda districts, from 10 August by the volunteers of the non-profit Atmashakti Trust, Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha in an effort to facelift education in rural areas.

Till now, over 100 sangathan members and local youth volunteers have already conducted more than 175 remedial classes in these districts while strictly following the government’s COVID19 norms.

The initiative was the result of a study on learning assessment of school children which was carried out by these organization. In this study, learning levels of over 3000 school students of class-III, class-V and class-VIII were conducted from these districts in the state where the study report revealed abysmal condition of learning levels among school children. It required remedial classes for them to help these struggling learners shore up their basic skills and that could help them catch up to their peers. Lock down was also an opportunity where they can catch up to their peers by learning through remedial classes.

Binay Bhoi, a Plus II student too teaches a group of students from Class I to V at the village club room in the morning. Both of them have been teaching the students since August 10 after being inspired by the local Mahila Sangram Samiti (MSS), which has been encouraging educated rural youths to take remedial classes in these tough times.

“Most of the parents are happy with our remedial classes as children are back to the teaching learning environment and gradually catching up the courses from where they had left, after a long gap of four months, said Binaya.
Over the week, these volunteers are taking up remedial classes for two-hours each day to a group of children, each consisting 5 to 6 learners, where physical distancing, use of handwash and sanitisers and other precautionary measures and it is ensured that these classes are conducted in a joyful environment.

“While Sikkim has formally adopted homeschooling, where teachers will visit students house with all resources to teach them, a similar kind of our teaching-learning model, we urge the Odisha government follow our remedial classes modules and Sikkim model as well to help these children who are left with little or no support to return to their learning”, said Ms Ruchi Kashyap, Executive Trustee of Atmashakti Trust, an NGO that runs remedial classes together with its allies in Odisha.

In a state, where online education poses massive challenges in rural Odisha, where only 22 lakhs out of a total 62 lakhs and the children are also seen scrambling to get atop the roof or boundary walls nearby to get hold of that elusive mobile connectivity, a doorstep remedial classes are helping thousands of children in these remotest parts of Odisha to ensure that these children kept up with their education which will also promote equal educational opportunities, Ms Kashyap added.

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