Bridging the ever widening education disparities in India:

During COVID, Don Bosco Network supported 6,909 students in Don Bosco schools, who were unable to pay fees. Most of these were due to loss of income. In order to lessen the rural-urban- digital divide, the Smart Classrooms project upgraded 17 rural schools, providing them with technology and teacher training, to organize online classes benefitting 13930 rural students. Don Bosco Network provided smart devices to 163 students so they could access online classes and managed to provide education support to 21,019 People.”

Despite education being a fundamental right, a report by the DEF (Digital Empowerment Foundation)  indicates that 30% of our population lacks basic literacy and thrice of those lack digital literacy. 

The COVID-19 pandemic only worsened the situation. The main source of providing learning opportunities was forced to shift online. What we failed to consider were the poor and the marginalized people, the ones who are less fortunate, leaving one to consider online schools as a privilege. With the help of their partners, Don Bosco Network supported 6,909 students in Don Bosco schools, who were unable to pay fees. Most of these were due to loss of income.

It is a sad truth that e-learning wasn’t a sustainable solution to the COVID-19 education crisis in India. Calamities affect the underprivileged the hardest; COVID-19 definitely wasn’t an exception. 

In order to lessen the rural-urban- digital divide, the Smart Classrooms project upgraded 17 rural schools, providing them with technology and teacher training, to organize online classes benefitting 13930 rural students. Don Bosco Network provided smart devices to 163 students so they could access online classes Furthermore, as per a report by NSO (National Statistics Office) only 14.9% of rural households own computers with internet connectivity as against 42% in urban areas. Only 19.6% of the rural population knows how to operate a computer as compared to 64.4%.

With this wide digital gap between the rural- urban population, the shift in the education system on digital platforms only hampered the education of thousands of students. The marginalized sections did not have access to digital resources; hence, there was a loss of academic learning. With the Covid-19 Safe Schools project, we aimed to prepare the Don Bosco schools with everything necessary to reopen schools with a safe environment. During the pandemic, Don Bosco managed to provide education support to 21,019 People.

Through our project, we provided 163 children mobile phones or television sets to access online classes, 6,909 students school fee and education material support, and 17 schools with technology to provide distance education to rural students. These were able to technically enable schools impact 13930 students.

We educate to empower and strive the young by identifying their hidden capabilities and finding creative strategies to convert them into useful and relevant skills to achieve great things for the young and the society.