Project JnanaShala from Happy World Foundation
What is Project JnanaShala:
An education based initiative, that aims to enable and empower the lives of people living in rural villages of India. The objective of this Project goes beyond education of rural children to empowering women and rural youth through education and skill based training programs, leading to sustainable livelihood and a prosperous rural economy.
Why Project JnanaShala:
- In the new normal, online education targeted at students living in our rural villages, has become a huge challenge both for the students and their parents. Most of the villages do not have steady wi-fi connectivity or even if they do, most do not have access to wi-fi enabled smartphones to access their online classroom sessions.The State Government of Karnataka has also announced, that School syllabus for Government school students shall be taught using multiple Doordarshan TV channels, with staggered timing for each standard. No doubt this is a good idea to circumvent the wi-fi related issues faced by the villagers, but as per a recent survey, more than 50% of the students in rural areas don’t even have a TV set at home.
In many villages of Karnataka, they also face constant power failure.
- Knowing good moral values such as kindness, appreciation of nature and environment, humility, courage, and compassion at an early age builds a child's character. It forms the very core of their being and becomes a foundation of their moral beliefs. This is why it's essential to start teaching them moral values while they're still very young. The morals they learn as kids will affect how they see the world and behave as adults. And when such education involves fun and games, the “Joy of Learning” derived by the young kids, has tremendous impact on them.
- “If you educate a man you educate an individual, however, if you educate a woman you educate a whole family”. It is a woman who plays a dominant role in the basic life of a child. Women are an important section of our society and Education as means of empowerment of women can bring about a positive attitudinal change. Without empowerment, women wouldn't feel equally important to the process of development as men. It is therefore, crucial for the socio-economic and political progress of India. However women living in rural areas rarely have a say in their household, leave alone the village administration. Empowering a woman empowers the village, since only she can bring about the change. Empowerment also means creating an environment where women earn their livelihood and become financially independent.
- Aspiring and educated rural youth are migrating to urban areas due to lack of employment opportunities other than farming, in the rural areas. The rural youth is often forced to work in their family farms, but as per a recent survey less than 2% aspired to be a farmer since they perceive farming not to be lucrative enough to sustain livelihood. There are social pressures of earning that force them to shift permanently to urban India. On the other hand, urban India is facing congestion due to migrant workers that mount load on limited urban infrastructure. What if solution to this problem is found by educating them on specific skills that ensures livelihood for them? Skill based Education that leads to employment opportunities in rural India making it attractive for the rural youth to stay back in their Villages and perhaps even attract urban youth to earn their livelihood in the villages.
- Adult Education program and special programs for the senior citizens
Once a cluster is identified the following items of capital nature will be procured, transported and then installed in the villages:
a) 50-55inch Smart TV
b) Miracast Projector
c) 4G Android Smartphone
d) Uninterrupted Power Supply unit
e) Bluetooth speaker.
A community centre will be identified in the primary as well as secondary villages, to host and conduct the sessions.
- The identified place could be within a Temple or within the local School premises.
- The centre should be easily accessible to the village community and preferably located within good wi-fi range.
- The centre should have provision for electric points required for the Smart TV, Projector and for charging the smartphone.
The Facilitator shall be provided a Jio handset with 4G, so that the content could be streamed through the Smart TV set or the Miracast Projector.
Android compatible portable Miracast projector with Bluetooth speaker will be used as a back up in the primary village in case the Smart TV faces technical issues or if the program has to be shifted to an alternate location.
Since the Smart TV is attached to the primary village, the mode of delivery for secondary villages in the cluster shall depend only on the Miracast projector. Hence the Projector will serve as the only source for educational sessions in the secondary villages, within the cluster.
In the secondary villages, the regular Live classroom sessions aired by DD channel shall be shown only if the wi-fi connectivity is strong. Else the recorded sessions on Doordarshan’s Youtube channel, shall be shown to the students in offline mode.
Thus both online and offline content could be shown through the Jio 4G phone connected to the projector through Bluetooth technology. Since wi-fi connectivity is slow or doubtful at times, there shall be more reliance on offline content available or sent to the Facilitator well in advance.
Role of a Grama Gelathi (Facilitator):
- The Project shall be supported by a lady facilitator, called “Grama Gelathi”, who will manage a cluster of villages on full time basis, typically an Anganwaadi worker, primary school teacher or someone who needs a job to sustain livelihood.
- She has to be atleast a Matriculate and tech savvy, who understands basic technology to handle bluetooth pairing or video casting or connecting devices to wifi network etc.
- She shall manage the 3-4 villages in the cluster, for Project JnanaShala
- The Facilitator shall prepare the Time Table or program schedule a month in advance so that the villagers living in the cluster are aware and can plan their time accordingly, and attend the sessions relevant to them.
- She will ensure social distancing is maintained and the participants wear face mask, as precaution against COVID19 pandemic
- She will ensure the participants attend the scheduled sessions in the common area or community centre based on the time slot allotted to them in the Time Table. She will ensure the participants are aware of their class schedule, well in advance, so that they do not miss their classes
- She will also ensure, the Smart TV set is primarily used for the regular sessions and not for general entertainment like Serials or Movies.
- Both the Smart TV set and the Miracast Projector shall be under the watch and control i.e. password protected to avoid misuse.
- She will ensure the blue tooth speaker and the 4G Smartphone; both are fully charged before start of any session.
- The Miracast projector shall have to be carried to the secondary villages for conducting the sessions and unlike the Primary village there shall be no backup provision. To ensure there is no impact due to power failure, the portable UPS will also have to be carried to these secondary villages.
- The video shall be screened on a piece of white cloth (preferably measuring 10 feet diagonally) fixed on a wall.
- A detailed checklist shall be provided to the Facilitator to ensure the sessions are conducted smoothly without any glitches.
- Content shall be made available in the local language
- Content shall not be just school curriculum related but shall cover diverse areas and subjects
- Entire spectrum of the society – young kids, teenagers, young adults, women specific and senior citizens shall be covered
- The content shall be sent to the Facilitator at regular intervals
- The same content shall be shared with the participants in offline mode, during the sessions
- Content could be videos including YouTube videos, PPT slides etc.
- Some of the content could also be related to games, activities or even simple Science experiments
- Some examples:
- For rural youth, the content shall include training on relevant skills
- For children aged 8 to 12, content shall include subjects like values and characters
- For women, content shall cover subjects related to financial literacy and women empowerment
- For all sections of the society, content shall include Yoga, Meditation, Personal hygiene, Swachh Bharat, civic sense related.
Who are the beneficiaries of Project JnanaShala:
The project will not just support the school going children get easy access to their academic sessions, but will also provide education to the following sections of the village community:
- education on values, characters and life skills for young kids aged between 8 and 12 years
- skill based educational training to women and rural youth
- women empowerment programs including financial literacy
- special programs for senior citizens and village adults
The project aims to touch the lives of not less than 700 people living in a particular village cluster (3 villages) and we plan to cover close to 100 villages in next 1 year impacting more than 20,000 lives.