Pratham’s initiative of sharing information on Covid and its vaccine
Every year schools in Kashmir are closed for months together because of different reasons. To cope with the academic loss and to improve the learning abilities of students, the School Education Department and other organisations, among them Pratham Education Foundation, are trying their best.
In my previous article I had mentioned about the different tasks done by Pratham Education Foundation during the recent unrests and the CoViD-19 lockdown. Pratham’s community classes were working in every educational zone of Kashmir during times of unrest, but in 2020 when all educational institutions were closed because of the lockdown due to the pandemic, Pratham’s community classes were also closed. In this unprecedented challenge, Pratham didn’t stop working and instead started sharing digital content with volunteers, parents, teachers and students. The exercise of sharing digital content helped parents, teachers and community volunteers to enable children to learn even at their home. Pratham also created digital content to encourage children to remain in touch with their textbooks and do projects by themselves.
Pratham has prepared individual assignments for children which are shared with parents through community volunteers and even directly with parents. This content is also shared through SMS with parents who don’t have access to internet or smartphone. The content has something for everyone in the age group of 3 to 14 years, that is, for students from KG to Class 8. The content shared through WhatsApp and SMS includes daily projects, assignments, activities based on textbooks of the respective classes. If the children find any difficulty in understanding the content, Pratham team members make phone calls almost every day to make the children understand the content. These calls boost spirits, spur conversation around the activities, and provide an opportunity for family members to ask questions about the materials they have received.
In addition to the normal assignments and SMSs, an engagement activity is also shared twice or thrice in a week with parents and volunteers to be done with the children. These WhatsApp messages are called, Karo na Thodi Masti, Thodi Padhai, (a little fun, a little study). They feature video and audio content that facilitates hands-on activities in various subjects. I have already discussed about this campaign in my previous article.
In May, 2021 Pratham Education Foundation started a new campaign, namely, Karo na Apni Suraksha. This campaign was the the first of its kind in Jammu and Kashmir, where a person was receiving verified health and safety information on his/her mobile phone. In this campaign Pratham included not only children and parents but the messages were shared with everyone, young or old. The main aim of the campaign was to provide verified and reliable information about Covid-19 disease. The messages included various precautionary measures and safety tips about CoViD-19, like how to use a mask, how to make a mask at home, hygienic way of hand washing, maintaining social distance, and most importantly, information about Covid vaccine, the importance, dosage, myths and facts about the vaccine. The community response was very positive and encouraging, especially on the vaccine.
On every weekend, art and craft-related video links are shared by Pratham’s creativity club. These links are specifically designed for different age groups. Once every three weeks, to test the understanding of the campaign content, a quiz competition is held with all the children who are receiving the content.
I must say that with innovative campaigns and programmes, Pratham continues to work no matter what the circumstances are. The Pratham Kashmir team has now become so adaptive that in every situation they find a solution for learning with fun and masti. They have proved that whatever the situation be, they are never going to stop teaching children.
The writer works as Coordinator for Pratham Education Foundation in district Ganderbal