To tackle the COVID-19 crisis, the schools were closed and thousands of students were confined to their homes. Since the period of lockdown overlapped with the beginning of new sessions at school, students were left without textbooks for the new academic session that began in April in many states. While it has been difficult to entirely revise the way education is disseminated all across, it has been even more challenging for the schools in the remote belts of India.
In Satya Bharti Schools across India, teachers have been using various means to send daily learning activities to students. Class wise and subject wise WhatsApp groups have been created, and online material and apps have been shared with the students. However, access to textbooks of the new academic session was essential to supplement their learning process.
To ensure that learning is not hampered, Bharti Foundation developed and implemented a meticulous procedure of contact-less distribution of books to ensure that all Satya Bharti School students in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan receive textbooks for the new academic session. The staff members involved in the distribution of books were given a 7-point document for instructions regarding a safe processing of the entire procedure, including the basic rules to follow, material to be kept ready two days prior to the distribution, instructions on delivery of the books to the school and the parents, book sorting, procedural planning and monitoring, etc. The process was carried out with prior intimation to the local DM, BEO and the Panchayat as well.
Parents of the students were called to schools in separate time slots for different classes while strictly maintaining social distancing measures and mandatory sanitation guidelines. A maximum of 60 parents with a maximum of 15 per half-an-hour were called in a day. Teachers ensured that 10/15 book bundles were kept on desks before parents came in. Out of 32,000+ students, more than 30,000 students (including 1,600+ partial distributions) received the books across the 168 schools in the five states, reaching out to over 90% students.
The procedure of book distribution, however, was not concluded there. The parents/guardians who visited the schools for collecting the books were also given proper instructions for their own and their child/children’s safety. Even though all books were sanitized, parents were advised to not handover them to children for a minimum of three days.