Biswajit Nayak, one of the founders of www.shikhya.org spent a lot of his early years in rural Orissa and the capital city of Bhubaneswar. He decided to start the pilots for his social venture in both these locales that he was familiar with. In this post I will do a short introduction to one of the pilot projects: a math remedial center in a western part of Bhubaneswar called Baramunda.
The math remedial center is a place where we clarify and reinforce a student’s understanding of maths concepts. The motivation for the project and details on core content and method of delivery of content is covered here. The center’s objective is very similar to after school programs in USA or private tuition classes students take in India.
We choose our first urban center near the Baramunda high school (in Orissa the high school has grades 1-12 unlike USA high schools that have grades 8-12) so that it can be easily accessed by students. Students can join in either of two sessions – morning (6 AM to 9 AM) and evening (5 PM – 9 PM) so that students can come to classroom before or after regular school. We currently have 10 tablets loaded with Math course materials – this enables students offline access to the same videos that are available online at www.shikhya.org. We would like to maintain a 1:1 student to tablet ratio but sometimes the students share tablets when we have more students than tablets.
The key to this center is a facilitator who is quite knowledgeable about local students and enjoys a certain level of trust of the parents. The Baramunda center facilitator graduated from the same local high school 4 years ago and is now pursuing higher (college) education. He is passionate about doing his part for the community and strongly believes empowerment comes from education. He mans the center part time when he is not in college and has the following responsibilities:
- acts as field officer and liaises with core team
- is custodian of the technology (tablets)
- troubleshoots technical issues
- maintains discipline in classroom
- monitors and analyses progress of students
- helps and intervenes if student needs help to progress
- Rent for center = Rs 3000 ($50) per month
- Facilitator = Free (Pro Bono)