STAYING IN TOUCH: A REMOTE LEARNING PROGRAM
Given the recent COVID-19 pandemic which has disrupted livelihoods across the country, the problem of learning gaps and learning loss is likely to get amplified in the medium term, due to prolonged school closures. To address this issue, Pratham created unique learning opportunities within children’s own homes since the breaking up of the pandemic and subsequent imposition of lockdown during March 2020. This Pratham’s Initiative –STAYING IN TOUCH, is a remote learning program to regularly engage with children of Std I-V by sending activities and tasks through the phone to parents. The aim is to set up a daily connect with children and help them sustain and strengthen their foundational skills in numeracy and literacy. The program is being implemented in Kannada, Urdu, and Marathi mediums across Karnataka. Pratham Volunteers regularly share content via phone directly with children’s families and follow up with regular phone calls to take feedback. After sending the message, the volunteers conduct feedback calls with parentsto understand whether the child is able to do the activity and is in need of any support if necessary. A daily schedule of phone calls for each volunteer is also drawn up at the village /mohalla level such that the child’s family is not missed out on receiving calls. The volunteer will note down the key points of the conversation and feedback so that it can be communicated to higher levels for improvement of content and delivery.Periodic review meetings are carried out at block and district levels across the state to ensure that this remote learning program is being carried out efficiently and effectively. The content is gradebased covering Story/Poem/ Read Aloud passages with highlighted words for improving literacy. For Numeracy, a lot of activities on Number Recognition, Number Reading, counting with objects, place value and pattern including word problems arecovered. Messages containing music, art, and theatre based activities with scope for creating hands-on material make children extremely engaged.
On an average everyday close to 27,000 SMS and WhatsApp messages are sent to more than 34,800 children through 3000 volunteers.