This Muslim teacher in Maharashtra developed all-purpose workbook for underprivileged children who can’t afford smartphones for online classes

By Imraan Inamdar, 

Maharashtra: At a time when educational institutions across the country have been shut due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, online teaching has become the new reality. While online classes have come as a boon to students who otherwise would have lost valuable time, for the teachers adapting to online classes meant creating educational videos, conducting online classes via Google meet, synchronizing activities through WhatsApp groups.

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While those students who have smartphones, internet availability, laptops and other electronic gadgets are getting benefits from it, other students belonging to India’s rural areas and considerably underprivileged are scrambling to access education through smartphones.

In Solapur district of Maharashtra, nearly 60 per cent of students are underprivileged and don’t have smartphones or adequate access to the internet.

Responding to this crisis, a Zilla Parishad Urdu primary teacher Javed Kazi from Solapur came forward with an idea of the workbook of all the subjects including drawing, math’s and languages to provide an option to the deprived students from 1st standard to 5th standard. The workbook offers these children to learn, read, write and solve equations at home under the telephonic guidance of concerned teachers and elderly people.

Talking to, Javed said he is doing it with the aim to serve his mother tongue Urdu and its students. “I am not intending to make money from it,” he said.

The notebook is not expensive, and as per Javed, is paid for by concerned class teachers from. “We don’t want to put a financial burden on our poor students,” he added.

Javed said that the notebook was a success and he has received an overwhelming response from teachers and students. “I have received calls from private schools and other cities of Maharashtra as well,” he said.

Javed said that three thousand copies of the trimmed syllabus based workbook have nearly finished and they are planning to publish three thousand more to meet the demand of all the five thousand students of 65 Zila Parishad’s, 22 corporation and 12 Nagar Parishad school students of the district.

Amid the ongoing pandemic, the government has encouraged Online Educational Resources OER but the availability of OER for Urdu medium students is very limited.

“In such a situation, we have to provide something to these students to engage them,” he said.

A Zila Parishad primary school teacher Mohsina Bangi said that the workbook has made learning activity easy for them. “We are supervising by making calls and students are giving a good response. They are reading textbooks and writing answers and solving problems of other subjects in the workbook,” she added.

A parent of a student from Aurad Zila Parishad school told that concerned teachers send educational videos and other online learning material but, “our children can’t get the benefit of it because we have four children and only one smartphone that I always carry.”

“This workbook has made all the children busy in learning activities. Children are reading, writing and informing their teachers as per convenience,” he added.

Ayesha Wasim Bagwan, mother of a fourth standard student expressed happiness over the provision of this workbook. “This has given momentum to my daughter’s learning process. Now she is giving some time to study, trying to solve math’s problems, writing answers by taking my help,” she said.