To ensure there was no disruption in learning during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, which overlapped the start of the new academic session in April 2020, Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, developed and implemented a meticulous procedure of contact-less distribution of books.
Several changes were made to the process of disseminating education, especially for students in remote areas of India. In Satya Bharti Schools, teachers used various means to send daily learning activities to students. Class-wise and subject-wise WhatsApp groups were created, and online material and apps were shared with students. However, access to textbooks for the new academic session was essential to supplement their learning process.
Close to 5438 students from 28 schools in Rajasthan received textbooks for the new academic session through contact-less distribution.
Precautionary measures were taken at every step. Staff members involved in book distribution were given a 7-point document of instructions on COVID-19 precautions to follow while carrying out the task. These included instructions on keeping material ready two days prior to distribution, safe delivery of books to schools and parents, sorting of books, procedural planning and monitoring, etc. The process was carried out after prior intimation to local DMs, BEOs, and the Panchayats.
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Parents of students were called to schools in separate time slots to collect books while strictly maintaining social distancing and mandatory sanitation guidelines. In a day, a maximum of 60 parents were allowed.
Teachers ensured that 10 to 15 book bundles were kept on desks before parents came to collect them. Staff members also ensured COVID-19 safety norms were followed by parents of students after they went back home. Even though all books were sanitized, parents were advised not to handover them to their children for a minimum of three days.
Binu Nair, Chief Program Operations, Bharti Foundation said, “It has been our constant effort to provide rural children access to quality education especially during COVID-19 induced lockdown. We at Bharti Foundation ensured that every child stayed engaged with education, while being at home. Book distribution is one among many initiatives. The team came together to ensure every child received textbooks maintaining the COVID-19 guidelines.”
About Bharti Foundation
Bharti Foundation was set up in the year 2000 as the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises. It implements and supports programs in primary, secondary and higher education as well as Sanitation. The flagship Satya Bharti School Program provides free quality education to thousands of underprivileged children in rural India across six states, with a focus on the girl child, since 2006. The impact of quality education has been scaled-up by transferring the learning and good practices of this program to lakhs of students studying in government schools across several Indian states and union territories, through the Satya Bharti Quality Support Program, since 2013. Satya Bharti Abhiyan, the sanitation initiative since 2014, has been improving sanitation conditions in the districts of Punjab by providing access to toilets and by fostering behavioral change in communities. Together, the Foundation’s programs have cumulatively impacted over 2 million community members.
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