What are some ways to make good quality education accessible to low-income communities?

Posted by Arunima Kumar on 29 May, 2018

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6 Solutions

By Leveraging reach & acceptability to Android based Tablets and Mobile

Posted by Rohit Prakash on 14 Nov, 2018

Let us first meet Nikhil.

He is a class 8 student from a government school in UP. Since last one year, he has been learning from his tablet and building various working models. One such is that of a fan he made a while ago from waste items lying in his home. Look at this video where he is excitedly sharing his creation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZhy3lw2mRY

I am very hopeful when I say this. We have sowed the seeds of a future scientist in Nikhil. And who knows, if he continues to get access to skill based content and the right guidance, he very well may become one.

Today, there are many children like Nikhil who are using their personalised learning tablets set up in their government schools for enjoyable learning.

Why am I able to do this today? Is mobile and tab based learning really the future?

The rural regions and our underserved citizens in those areas are right at the cusp of riding a mobile powered development wave. Affordable mobile phones and android are reaching the homes of our rural most regions in every state of India. It has fast become their defacto access to information, livelihood, entertainment and even govt support/subsidies now.

The best part of this mobile revolution is that there is almost a natural adoption to it. Consider your case. When you first bought a smartphone, was there anyone to train you?

The way I see future and transformation in rural learning is to leverage this reach and natural adoption to android powered touch devices to deliver enjoyable & interactive learning content right at the finger tips of the learner.

I had written a blog sometime back on why educational tablets for government schools have the potential to disrupt rural learning. Please read the same here:

http://www.idreameducation.org/blog/educational-tablets-government-schools/

There is another very important piece to the puzzle though. Availability of learning content in local language. In India, close to 65% of students still learn in their local language. But availability of quality learning material in local language is still very limited and that too difficult to access and use.

When I was starting iDream Education with my friend Puneet, we were very clear on certain fundamentals. One of the key ones was to work on student centric digital learning solutions that align to the natural psychology of all stakeholders in government school ecosystem.

One of our core products TABLAB is built on these fundamentals. Via a multilingual, integrated and a personalised learning platform, we deliver local language content across multiple categories on a tablet. These tablets are stacked in an auto charging rack and are used by students in government schools. Key here is to uncomplicate everything and make it so easy & hassle free that there is almost a natural adoption to it. Because then, it can scale.

So, TABLAB essentially has become a plug n play learning lab that is easy to set up, easy to use & manage, is cost effective and very scalable. To answer your question, I strongly believe basis my experience that such a hassle free student centric approach can make good quality education accessible to low income communities.

Mobile however presents even a stronger and much more scalable approach to make digital learning reach the last mile learners. It is affordable as well. 

We have also just launched an iDream Learning App. 

It is a unique adaptive practice app that guides users to master every topic and improve their scores. 

To summarise, tab and mobile based learning is definitely an approach with a lot of merits as shared above to make good quality education accessible to the last mile learner or the low income communities. 

However, any solution must complement the psychology and natural behaviour of all stakeholders involved in the learning ecosystem. It must solve their needs and make life easy for them. 

In case you would like to discuss more, please feel free to write to me at rp@idreameducation.org

Here's our website with more information on our work: www.idreameducation.org

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Aarambh Help Desk - Cardboard School Bags that transform into Desks

Posted by Sandeep Singh on 12 Nov, 2018

Aarambh is a non-profit organization that collects old cardboard boxes sourced from recycling centres, offices and retail stores and overlay a stencil design as a template for cutting out the desk/bag. Once cut, the cardboard can be folded into a book bag for children to carry their texts to and from school, rather than the plastic bags many used before. 

At the start of every day, the bag can then be unfolded, and refolded into a small desk, improving the children’s comfort and posture. It will also help them to avoid eyesight and handwriting problems which can arise from reading, writing and sitting all on the floor.

The solution not only helps the children and helps recycle discarded cardboard, but each desk only costs 20 cents to produce.

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Sudiksha Knowledge Solutions

Posted by Punita Das on 01 Oct, 2018

Sudiksha Knowledge Systems aims to provides affordable early childhood education by setting up low-cost pre-school Center's in low-income urban and semi-urban regions. Starting with the vision of one student, one teacher, one school at a time, Sudhiksha wants to create a movement for sustainable change. 

Sudiksha aims to pilot a franchisee model, which will allow the enterprise to scale operations nationally, develop new day care services in addition to the schools and grow its senior management team.

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Hippocampus Learning Centres

Posted by Wilbert Daniel on 27 Sep, 2018

Bengaluru-based Hippocampus Learning Centres (HLC) was founded by Umesh Malhotra in 2010 with the idea of opening pre-primary schools in the Tier IV towns. Umesh today runs around 300 primary school centres with 700 teachers in Karnataka alone, benefiting over 11,000 children. 

The startup recruits, trains, and manages a network of teachers in rented village centres, and charges an affordable monthly fee for quality educational services based on international best practices. HLC has raised a total of $21 million from multiple investors.

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XO Laptop - Tech Solution specifically designed for Children

Posted by Earthr.org Content Team on 25 Aug, 2018

Education and learning are universal desires for today's youth. But poor communities don't always have the means to give children the comprehensive education they deserve. The XO Laptop is helping to fill that gap. The small, low cost computer is highly durable and features a powerful screen that can be read in harsh sunlight. It has built-in wireless internet so kids can connect to information around the world. The tech solution is specifically designed for children in developing nations, hoping to give youth access to self-empowered education. XO Laptops have been donated to more than 2.4 million children in several countries, such as Peru, Kenya, Nepal and Afghanistan. 

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Teach For India: A movement of leaders to eliminate educational inequality

Posted by Kunal Nandwani on 29 May, 2018

Teach For India is a nationwide movement of college graduates and young professionals who commit two years to teach full-time in under-resourced schools. In the short-term, through their Fellowship program, they provide an opportunity to India’s brightest and most promising individuals, from the nation’s best universities and workplaces, to serve as full-time teachers to children from low-income communities in some of the nation’s most under-resourced schools.

A 5-week Training Institute is organized to prepare the Fellows for teaching in school. It is innovative, rigorous and tries to push every Fellow far beyond his comfort zone. On the first day of training, Fellows are dropped off into a community for 2 hours and told to connect with a child. Fellows undergo 4 weeks on-the-job training by teaching in summer school. By the time Institute is over, they are ready for school.

Post the Fellowship, Teach For India Fellows work from within and across different sectors to advocate equity in education. This may be through involvement in corporate foundations to encourage funding, through working in the government to influence policies towards education equity or through working in other social organizations involved in getting better education for the underprivileged.

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