African nations to replicate RILM’s digital classroom

At the goal-setting virtual seminar Lakshya RIPE Shekhar Mehta urged the incoming district governors to recommend to the state governments RILM’s e-learning curriculum being telecast in Hindi and English for 10 crore students from Class 1–12 through the PM e-Vidya TV and Diksha App so that they could be translated into regional languages to benefit 25 crore schoolchildren in India. “The Diksha portal — with 10 per cent of it having Rotary content — alone got over 50 crore hits in the last six months,” he said, and added that the governments of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim and Odisha had approached RILM for extending the e-curriculum designed with the NCERT support to their local schools. Besides the GoI channel, six digital service providers such as Tata Sky, Airtel and Jio TV are telecasting the audio-visual content. “Soon, a pilot e-learning will be done in Togo, Africa, which has sought World Bank funding. Based on its outcome, we will take this up with 10 more African nations,” said Mehta. RILM would negotiate with suppliers and contractors “to procure material at discounted price for Happy Schools and get work done at concessional rates,” he said.

Children at an Asha Kiran Centre in Banspal, Odisha.
Children at an Asha Kiran Centre in Banspal, Odisha.

RID Kamal Sanghvi, who is also RILM chairman, urged the DGEs and DLCCs to “dream outrageously with strength, patience and passion to make India fully literate by 2025.”

Even during the Covid lockdown RILM had curated probably one of the world’s largest e-learning programmes reaching out to 10 crore children and over 100,000 teachers became digital savvy through online training sessions. Education of girl children ranked six among the top determinants that could tackle the adverse impacts of climate change, according to a study by climate scientists in 2017, he said. In his presentation, RILM chief strategy officer Biswajit Ghosh said that over 16,000 schools, 20 lakh students and 45,000 teachers benefitted from the donation of e-learning devices and hardware by Rotary clubs.


Adult Literacy

In a pilot programme from 2015–18, Rotary made 87,870 illiterate adults into literate persons through a Diksha programme where a student volunteer taught an adult to read, write and do simple arithmetic. “We formed partnerships with groups like Brahmakumaris, Bharat Scouts and private schools and introduced new programmes like Vidya, Shiksha and Swabhimaan in adult literacy to cover five crore beneficiaries in the next five years,” said Ghosh.

With 28.7 crore adults illiterate, 37 per cent of global total, India leads the world in adult illiteracy, he said.

RILM has developed a primer for a functional literacy course which is being translated into regional languages, said Aapga Singh, head, Adult Literacy, RILM. “We are forging partnerships at the regional-level to achieve the target.”

Learners at an adult literacy centre in Sitarampur, West Bengal.
Learners at an adult literacy centre in Sitarampur, West Bengal.

Project Dignity is training over 1,000 widows and single women on vocational skills through five global grants (under Adult Literacy), said Jhilam Roychowdhury, programme director, RILM. “Under Saksham Bharat, a pilot in 10 cities with Apollo Medskills is training over 140 young adults in value-added medical services,” she said.


Asha Kiran

In the first phase, Rotary worked with 33 NGOs across 12 states to identify 37,436 children who had either dropped out of school or never attended one and “we mainstreamed 35,078 of them in government schools,” said Jhilam. Rotary has set a target of sending back to school 100,000 children in the next five years through state-level partnerships. Anshu Bery, deputy director, RILM, said that 2,964 government schools have been converted into Happy Schools and over 3,000 libraries were created. Under Padho Bharat, each club is encouraged to do at least one Happy School project with a library. RIDEs Mahesh Kotbagi, A S Venkatesh also spoke.

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