Since the COVID-19 hit the world, things have changed dramatically. Everything which was not imagined earlier to be in virtual mode has started adopting the change. During the lockdown, schools went online mode of teaching. This digital teaching mode has proven to be extremely challenging for underprivileged students, who do not have the luxury of having access to technical resources to attend online classes. Thus, this online teaching method brought the digital divide expanding the learning gap between privileged and unprivileged sections.
Parul (name changed), a 12-year-old class 5th student and many others like her were unable to attend online classes due to the lack of internet and digital devices until the Premanu Foundation launched its blended learning initiative, which included digital learning through ply sheets and home remedial classes.
When children like Parul (name changed) were facing the challenge of the digital learning method, Premanu Foundation felt the need to launch a project that could follow the COVID-19 protocols, and enable children from disadvantaged backgrounds to continue their education like children from privileged backgrounds. This thought process resulted in the origin of the blended learning initiative. Under this project, Premanu Foundation collaborated with Toybank for its digital learning play sheets. The play sheets were shared on the WhatsApp group for those who had a WhatsApp-enabled phone in their family. The parents were also encouraged to sit with their children and assist them in doing the learning activities at home. For children who did not have access to a WhatsApp-enabled phone, Premanu Foundation, through its volunteers, reached their homes to support them through remedial classes. The learning kits were also distributed to around 500 children in Kolkata and Banswara.
Premanu Foundation's blended learning project enables parents to participate in their children's learning activities. This not only aids the children's learning but also helps both the children and their parents to make better use of their time and cope with the stress and frustration that arose as a result of their prolonged stay at home due to the lockdown. The project is still ongoing and in operation in Kolkata, Mirzapur District of Uttar Pradesh, and Churu District of Rajasthan. So far, the initiative has benefited more than 2,000 children.