IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies, Vidya Shakti Partner to Educate 100 Villages in Varanasi
IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation has partnered with ‘Vidya Shakti’ to take education to rural areas of Uttar Pradesh through the use of Online Classes and Virtual Reality (VR).
The Initiative has already been implemented in 100 villages of Varanasi District with the sessions being conducted in Hindi Medium for students of Classes 6th to 8th.
This initiative is intended to tackle the ‘knowledge gap’ created by COVID-19 between students from urban and rural areas. The classes are focused on the fundamentals of languages as well as on maths and science
Student Retention levels have increased by adopting various technologies. STEM Teachers take VR Headsets to the classes to ‘act’ on the educational content and enable students to ‘feel’ the environment through the sensors. Short 3D videos are utilized for each concept in science and maths. The visualization sessions are made interactive through Q&A sessions to make the experience memorable for students.
IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation is the Technology Innovation Hub of IIT Madras. It is a Section 8 not-for-profit Company and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, under its National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems.
‘Vidya Shakti’ is an initiative of OpenMentor, formed in 2009 as a Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of Softsmith Infotech Private Limited to cater to the online education and skilling of the student community in the country. It conducts online courses in industry-relevant software skills besides providing recorded sessions and online exams for the students to practice and do self-evaluation.
Highlighting the unique aspects of this initiative, Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras, said, “At IIT Madras we believe that it is our duty to motivate young children specially from rural India to take up Higher education and provide the necessary guidance and counselling towards it. Vidya Shakti is a project involving several like-minded organisations including IIT Madras committed to improving the Gross Enrolment Ratio of our country. The rural interaction centres (RIC) established at Uttar Pradesh, under our Vidya Shakti project will work towards this important social goal. The RICs established in Tamil Nadu have resulted in commendable success during the academic year 2022-23, that has encouraged us to scale this Concept to other States.”
The project involves a STEM Tutor carrying three to four VR devices for each session. The tutor will visit one school in the morning and one school in the afternoon. The concept will be explained briefly after which the students, in small batches, will be asked to view the VR videos and ‘feel’ the subject. Students will be asked questions by the tutor, while the video is on. By ‘telling’ the experience, students rapidly develop more responsiveness, communication and participation
Elaborating about this initiative, (P. Nagarajan, Managing Trustee, Open Mentor Trust), Vidya Shakti, said, Due to shortage of teachers and mass migration of teachers from villages to towns, village kids do not have proper access to additional complementary tuition classes. Our online classes bridge this gap. Inspiring the kids at a young age is very important. Our Virtual Reality kits create a huge vibe in schools as the kids are now able to visualize what they study. We aim to reach every kid in every village, thru this scalable model.”
The Unique Aspects of Vidya Shakti initiative include:
Ø Live online class, in mother tongue
Ø Slow pace to teach and no rush
Ø Use of Simulation Software to show experiments
Ø Aptitude questions every day, to get students future-ready