Over 250 million children in Indian have been gravely affected by school closures due to COVID-19. An extensive survey that we did with students from low-income backgrounds indicated ~ 90% of them were feeling bored, anxious, frustrated and sad during the quarantine period. The socio-economic conditions that the children are surrounded with is the reason for this magnified effect.
For most of them, school is the only place that supports their aspirations, curiosity and expression. Thus, school closures create an exacerbating effect on low-income students affecting their mental health, cognitive skills and behaviours due to the stressful and traumatic circumstances.
To assist our children to learn remotely, we have developed a Remote Learning Program that has 2 aspects :
Delivery of lesson plans via tap buddy
TAP Buddy is a WhatsApp based chat bot, which delivers activity plans to students, allowing them to complete the coursework at their convenient time
Mentor Support via WhatsApp
Mentors explain the weeks’ activities, engage the students, track their progress, clear their doubts and motivate them to innovate over WhatsApp.
The different aspects of implementing our Whatsapp based program are as follows:
1. Explore: Children choose from an option of multiple courses across the domains of Visual Art, Technical Art and Performance Art where children make an informed choice with our course overview videos.
2. Specialization: Children are mentored in their course for a period of 1 year through weekly assignments and close monitoring & feedback
3. Mentor Support: Each weekly video is followed by 2 hours of mentor time over whatsapp wherein doubts regarding the assignment are clarified, students are kept engaged and motivated to submit their assignment in time. Post submission, children are provided 1:1 feedback for each assignment they submit.
4. Engagement: To encourage healthy competition we have developed an online leaderboard that shows children their scores and awards badges for every accomplishment like an on-time submission, a perfect score, consistency etc.
Currently our whatsapp based model has clocked more than 100,000 learning hours. At the end of the 1-year intervention, children that have mastered 70% of the course-specific content knowledge and are showing 60% improvement in leadership skills.