While parents in cities are tutoring their children at home using digital tools and technology amid the ongoing COVID-19-induced lockdown which has led to closure of schools, those in villages are utilising simple household items like fruits, buttons and pulses to homeschool kids.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a nationwide lockdown from March 25 to April 14 and urged the country of around 1.3 billion people to stay home in view of the coronavirus outbreak. The restrictions were first extended till May 3 and again extended till May 17.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,981 and the number of cases climbed to 59,662 in the country on Saturday, registering an increase of 95 deaths and 3,320 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Union health ministry. As most of the educational institutions in cities across the country are offering online classes due to the lockdown, parents too are chipping in to educate their kids at home using iPads, tabs and smartphones.
However, in the absence of fancy gadgets, internet connection and in some cases even electricity, those living in the hinterlands have come up with unique ideas like using fruits, vegetables, buttons, pulses etc. to teach their kids how to count and identify different shapes, sizes and colours.
In a video shot in a remote village in Odisha, a mother can be seen using tomatoes, onions and green chillies to teach her child how to count while another similar clip from a village in Jharkhand shows a mother teaching her child about different shapes through drawings that she made on the ground using a piece of chalk. The child identifies the rectangle, circle and square before jumping inside them as part of an educational game. In another video, children can be seen learning about numbers with the help of buttons and grains of different pulses. The mothers made the videos as part of an initiative by child rights NGO Save the Children to teach children in remote parts of the country and ensure that the parents are engaged in the learning process of the child.
“Our field level staff made some videos based on domain areas and shared them. We started the videos as an experiment because we are working with families who are struggling for their daily bread and butter and other issues,” said Kamal Gaur, deputy director-education at Save the Children.
“But these videos acted like a stimulus. We have developed a time table that every day we will touch upon an area so we started sharing those videos and we asked people how they were sou spending time with their children and they started sending us videos,” she told PTI. She further said that sometimes the mothers would replicate what was sent to them but most of the times, they come up with their own innovative ideas.
“It is an experiment but we are now putting it in a form of curriculum to distribute it in a much organised manner,” Gaur said. Gaur further said the project has been launched on a pilot basis in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Delhi and Karnataka.