Bharti Foundation on Friday said it is in talks with potential partners for technological support across its education initiatives, as the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises looks to bring in new tech tools to aid students in learning amid pandemic, over the coming months.
Bharti Foundation Chief Executive Officer Mamta Saikia said focus in the next few months to a year will be on strengthening content, including online digital repository, bringing smart TV-based teaching into classrooms (for which plans are underway), and further streamlining virtual pedagogy and processes.
Established in 2000, Bharti Foundation implements and supports programmes 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.
The impact of quality education has been scaled up by transferring the learning and good practices of the programme to lakhs of students studying in government schools across several Indian states and union territories, through the `Satya Bharti Quality Support Program’.
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.
The Foundation says its various programmes have cumulatively impacted over 2 million community members.
“On the education side, we are in discussion with corporate partners for technological support. We are in touch with many IT companies to support new tech requirements of teaching-learning in our schools, and hope some of those discussions will conclude in the next 1-2 months,” Saikia told PTI.
Bharti Foundation will maintain its budget at about Rs 100 crore this year, to support its existing programmes as also expenses around sanitisation in schools, shift to online models of learnings, and other measures that have been necessitated due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the country continues to battle the impact of COVID-19, Bharti Foundation sought to ensure that students, under its programmes, continue to receive education from home. Since March, Satya Bharti School teachers have connected with students through class-wise WhatsApp groups and voice calls.
A major thrust has been to maintain classes for students by leveraging virtual medium, at the same time offering training for teachers to help them to adapt to tools primarily on their phones, Saikia said.
Nearly 75 per cent of students with smartphones shifted to online learning and processes, while the rest of the students were provided individual support through phone calls made by teachers to ensure that learning continued uninterrupted to the extent possible, even in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, she said. Teaching-learning methodologies were quickly adapted for distance education, she added.
At the same time, the Satya Bharti Quality Support Program team has worked with government school teachers and principals for reaching out to students and parents and have also helped in implementing many government-led initiatives.
As of today, Bharti Foundation’s programmes have cumulatively impacted over 4 lakh children from over 4,000 villages, according to Bharti Foundation’s new Corporate Film.