BENGALURU: Uncertainty about how the upcoming academic year will unfold has had little impact on 24 government schools in the state. Bal Utsav, an NGO in Bengaluru, has equipped these schools with Internet, provided Tabs to many of them (which can be further distributed to teachers or students) and has also given free access to e-learning content to these schools.
The founder of Bal Utsav, Ramesh Balasundaram, told TNIE that after the lockdown, in December and January, the Tabs and content were given to schools in urban and rural areas. The ones with fewer students (around 100) are termed I-Shalas and the large urban schools are called Sampoorna Shalas.“The access to the paid content was given to them at schools, and parents and students were to get their login by visiting the school premises,” said Ramesh. Since access is for three years, continuity of learning will be maintained.
The initiative took flight in 2011 when Bal Utsav started classes for out-of-school children — slum dwellers, children of construction workers and tribal children — in unused government school classrooms. However, after a furore about the safety norms, they shifted from a model where they took over just a few classrooms, to revamping entire government schools. These schools are now called model schools. The 24 schools are all government schools in Bengaluru and Shivamogga, which are being converted to model schools, so parents admit their wards by choice and not as a last resort due to financial incapabilities.
“All our 24 model schools are Internet-enabled,” he said. Smart TVs are also set up in these schools, and both teachers and students consume educational content. As many as seven to 10 Tabs have been provided to each of the I-Shalas.
These initiatives are being funded by individuals from India and abroad, and through CSR initiatives. “The schools are equipped for continuous learning now. Given the existing scenario, they are empowered for blended learning. The Tabs given to schools, if used by teachers, has great use in localised learning like Vidyagama. However, schools are also free to give them to select students to continue learning,” he added.