Online classes for students have become the new buzzword as schools remain closed to tame the coronavirus. But the switch for some rural areas has been anything but smooth due to lack of digital literacy and access to technological devices.
To address this divide, Jhansi police have adopted Garhmau village in the district — a first of its kind initiative in the state. They have joined hands with National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to train students on how to leverage online platforms for their education. Not only this, villagers will also be taught as how to report crimes using Twitter, and log into other social media platforms for employment opportunities. Officials said Garhmau is UP’s first village to have registered its own Twitter handle @VillageGarhmau.
“The lockdown and pandemic have affected education of a lot of children. With this initiative, the idea is to provide long-term help to children in terms of books and others so that their studies are hampered. Some migrant labourers have come back to the village. The plan will be a community participation effort for village’s holistic development,” said Jhansi City SP Rahul Shrivastava, who heads the initiative. Around 40-50 people have returned to the village, with a population of around 1,100, due to the coronavirus lockdown.
NSS volunteers from Budnelkhand University will adopt one house each in the village and teach how to use various social media platforms. “NSS volunteers will help children who do not have enough resources for e-learning. On Sundays or other holidays, they will visit houses and interact with students and other family members,” said Dr Umesh Kumar, Jhansi NSS Nodal Officer.
Unicef will provide technical assistance. “The idea is to make the villages self-sustainable… As per our discussions with police, we will provide support to different departments whether in terms of livelihood generation or education,” said a Unicef spokesperson.
The villagers are excited about the idea of having a digital footprint. “The officials have discussed Twitter and Instagram with us… But I am sure if they spend enough time and teach us, we will learn it. This will bring about a lot of change in the village since it will be a way for us to highlight issues,” said Garhmau pradhan Sri Jai Devi.
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