The COVID-19 pandemic has erected unprecedented challenges before the education sector in India and has deeply impacted children’s access to learning resources and opportunities. While children from relatively better off families have been able to access learning support from outside and access online education even as schools underwent a prolonged closure, their financially weaker and socially marginalised counterparts experienced a complete disconnect with all learning opportunities thereby being impacted the hardest.
Shiksha Swaraj COVID-19 Response
We at Shiksha Swaraj have been working towards taking quality education to children from disadvantaged economic groups in rural Bihar’s Madhopur village through the formation of a thriving learning community that helps first-generation learners from the backward communities to experience a holistic, egalitarian, non-judgemental and child-centric learning.
Even as our work progresses and the number of children keeps growing in our learning community, the pandemic has again begun to surge endangering the lives of people, putting severe state regulated restrictions on movement and assembly and extending an obstacle in the path of children’s education.
Our commitment and determination to keep the light of education alive for the children of Shiksha Swaraj is such that even in these difficult times our team has shown great determination and strength in reaching out to these children through regular home-to-home visits in which we distribute learning materials, worksheets, home assignments and other engaging learning tools so that even while government regulations deny the possibility of one-on-one classes, our children can retain their connect with education and continue their education journeys without disruption.
The children have been gaining immensely from this amazing support structure designed by the Shiksha Swaraj team and not only have the children been educationally empowered but we have also been collecting funds to provide basic dry ration and food supplies to the family’s of those children which have lost all sources of income owing to the pandmeic so that they do not face hunger.
Given the COVID-19 situation where government schools have closed and families are in deep financial crisis, Shiksha Swaraj is trying to engage children in full-time learning activities targeted at sharpening their grasp over reading, literature, mathematics, science along with cultivating holistic creative sensibilities.
But at present as classes stand suspended, we are making sure that even in these hard and challenging times these children can study, practice and continue learning with the help of our learning materials. regular community visits by teachers and greater attempts at reaching out to parents through sensitisation initiatives.
To tackle the unique challenges posed by the pandmeic so far we have-
1. We have been reaching out to all our students through regular visits to the community with our team of teachers and volunteers to distribute learning materials, worksheets and engaging with children in small groups to address their immediate academic difficulties, doubts and learning issues.
2. Building a pool of well-wishers and donors who can help us ensure that none of the children in our learning community goes hungry as the pandemic surges again and we can make arrangements to provide monthly basic dry-ration items to the children of the poorest families.
3. Community level sensitisation and constant dialogue with parents against forcing children into the workforce or child-marriages amid growing financial stress.
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