Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity – Aristotle
Education, indeed, is the key to uplifting our society, but it is a grim fact that access to education is a privilege. A privilege we take for granted. Recently, I experienced that the disparity in our society is so far-reaching that it would take a collective community effort to bridge the colossal gap.
Working with Rukmani Trust, I got the opportunity to conduct a qualitative research study to assess the impact of the Digital Badges training. The program, an online training on digital education, focuses on “Active Teaching” & learning using “OER”. It is a part of the “teach the teacher” project for government teachers covering several parts of India in partnership with TISS. The grant benefitted over 2400 students & 110 teachers, while another 300 were benefited via interstate webquest.
The training helped these teachers develop a rounded curriculum and introduced them to online teaching. Lesson planning was one of the highlights of the training that helped most teachers. Further, the response was positive on both asynchronous learning and the presence of facilitators, as the programs combined a combination of the two.
However, I found that despite the carefully crafted modules and experienced instructors, the attendees found it challenging to retain the contents of the training. Within our sample, most expressed the need for a semi-regular program, so they can actively apply and impart as the training progresses. This combined with the pandemic and the lack of resources in their districts, poses a massive challenge. The difficulties range from lack of motivation among students and weak internet connections to the busy schedules of teachers, juggling teaching various subjects with their demanding home lives.
Work-life balance seems to be a distant dream. Due to the lack of access to technology, bringing even teachers up to speed with the new norms in the sphere of education poses a challenge. Technology has brought a beautiful ease to most of our lives, but in this case, the lack thereof, has left certain sections of our society further behind.
At Rukmani Trust, we write these blogs as a way to candidly share the facts discovered & the situation at hand, to inspire collective action. The time to act is most definitely now, as preemptive action is important before the gap widens further.
Most of us want to help but aren’t able to find the appropriate avenues or outlets to contribute. Time is a precious gift; if we all contributed a little bit of our time, we would be able to add enormous value to society. For we all know, equality yields great power, but before we can even dream of equal opportunities, we need to make basic human rights accessible and become spokespeople for those who can’t fight this arduous battle alone.