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Virtual School of Hope during Lockdown

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By OUR STAFF REPORTER 

DEHRADUN, 28 Apr: Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, the Digital Equalizer team of American India Foundation (AIF) is conducting online sessions. The virtual classes started on 4 April and are being held via WhatsApp and Hangouts. The nation-wide school closures had posed a unique challenge to the team who were unable to connect with students initially and had started with just three students but over a period of two weeks have reached out to more than 500 students and around 100 teachers across 70 schools.
AIF Coordinators are reaching out to new teachers and students everyday so that they can benefit from this platform.
Students are excited to learn through this new platform where they are able to engage in studies along with their friends and teachers regularly. They feel motivated at the same time as the worksheets solved by them are being appreciated by their school teachers and friends through the group. Teachers and head teachers are supporting the programme and have also encouraged teachers from other schools to join in the group.
School wise WhatsApp groups have been created and study materials are shared through videos, pictures, worksheets and audio clips. Due to poor internet connectivity, students worry about spending money on data plans, which is bit of a challenge, however, the contents provided are kept short, precise and easily accessible.
A poster making competition on COVID-19 theme is also being conducted and students are sharing their art and stories. Aashna Rawat, a Grade 8 student of GIC, Puriyadang in Pauri District of Uttarakhand says, “We owe huge thanks to India’s frontline heroes: healthcare workers, police force, and municipal employees.” More such activities will be undertaken remotely in the coming days and, to encourage more participation, best performers will be rewarded once the classes resume. Similarly all the teachers will also be given a certificate of appreciation by AIF to acknowledge their contribution.
Digital Equalizer (DE) is a flagship programme of American India Foundation (AIF) in partnership with The Hans Foundation (THF) and is being run in three districts of Uttarakhand (Dehradun, Almora and Pauri) since 2015.