The ‘SMS Project’ started by a group of educators and a PhD scholar Tarang Tripathi from the University of California looked to find a way to bring education to those students who do not have regular access to the internet or smartphones.
“The global outbreak of Coronavirus has resulted in physical distancing becoming a norm which has in turn impacted several key sectors in development. This pandemic has forced more than 320 million students in India to study remotely and has exposed some structural flaws that have plagued our education system for decades. Online classes have emerged as the singular alternative to conventional classrooms, which have exposed deeply entrenched class differences amongst the student community,” said co-founder of ‘Awaaz foundation’ Chandraditya Raj, an educator who also indulges in experimental teaching at Bluebells School. His organisation works with the underprivileged children and their education.
Raj informed that when the lockdown began the major problem of many unrecognised schools in areas like Sangam Vihar was the absence of regular teaching and study materials for the students. “We started ‘Adhyayan’, the SMS learning plan as it brings the formal curriculum to mobile phones; even for those that are not connected to the internet. This allows for direct communication between students and educators.”
The co-founder of the project explained that there is a team of educators who work with developing the curriculum.
“The lesson plans are sent to the students’ parent’s phones in multiple messages. The students then start to learn from there. We have our own curriculum which helps students to learn quicker and better. Continuous engagement allows educators to obtain feedback on curriculum, and answer questions and doubts surrounding lessons,” said Raj.
He added that the project has resulted in a positive response from the children participating. They feel that they have learnt a lot and are enjoying themselves. Mohini (name changed), a class 5 student exclaimed that “mujhe bahut mazza aata hai aise padhne mein.”
Raj informed that most of the study materials and lesson plans are sent in Hindi as it helps students to understand the material better.
Subjects like English, Hindi, social sciences, mathematics, and social sciences are taught through this medium.