Back to School:Mumbai has emerged as the hotspot for the spread of the coronavirus. Hospitals are over-crowded and government schools have been turned into quarantine centres. Our schools too have been converted to quarantine facilities. This means our children will not be able to return to school for the next few months. But education cannot stop.In light of the current situation, since April 2020 the teachers have been conducting lessons online for Standard IX students. However from June onwards we would be extending online lessons to all children across our schools. The teachers are working on creating lessons online and sharing it with the students through mediums such as Whatsapp and Google Classroom. However the biggest concern is that our families and teachers both have limited or no access to computers or laptops and smartphones would be the only possible device available to them. Our focus would therefore be on creating a mechanism that will allow effective remote learning with the use of smartphones. We also need to provide our families with basic internet packs to sustain the online learning.In a survey conducted by our social workers, it has come to light that almost 11% of our children do not have access to smartphones. Their parents use basic phones that do not have features of internet connectivity and option to download online applications. Further, our children live in small homes with a huge families. This may not allow the children a lot of quiet time to focus on their studies. Thus, we also need to provide some of the children earphones using which they are able to concentrate on their video lectures.While most of the families have at least 1 smartphone, in order to access online video classes, assignments and worksheets, they will also need internet data packs. Currently we are planning of providing data packs in the range of 1 – 1.5 GB of internet data per month, depending on the network service provider. By recharging mobile data packs for nearly 270 families, we will ensure all children have enough data to access the internet for 2-3 hours every day and access the lessons and assignments which will regularly be updated by the Education Team. Given the current circumstances, there is a lot of uncertainty with regard to the re-opening of schools as a result at present we are unable to estimate for how long we would have to continue with remote learning classes and therefore estimate for how long we would have to provide internet data packs. We are anticipating until August, however if schools are shut for a period even beyond August, we would have to extend the project accordingly.Current requirement:210 Smartphones, 582 Earphones, 270 internet data pack top ups.
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