Since March, teachers from three non-state primary schools run by Peepul, serving low-income communities in south Delhi, have been attempting to reach over 1000 students who can no longer attend school during lockdown. Their challenge: to keep every child learning. Initially, only 55% of these children had access to a smartphone to receive lesson content and stay in touch with their teachers. By casting a wider net to neighbours and extended family, this was increased to 75% of students. But a quarter remain without easy access to learning materials, at risk of slipping through the cracks. Many from migrant families have left the city and returned to villages making them more difficult to track down. Even for those with a smartphone, difficulties abound. With incomes squeezed due to economic shut-down, parents who are small daily wage earners face a choice between purchasing mobile data for their child’s education or buying food for the coming days.
The challenges faced by these teachers and students reveal a glimpse of a story being replicated the world over in government and non-state schools………………..