Bridging The Gap: Meet The Duo Reviving Digital Learning Experience In Government Schools!

Which school did you attend? Was it that big posh convent type or just another Vidyalaya?

Either way, many of us didn’t realize how privileged we were to get the basic and higher education, unlike many children.

On top of that, covid-19 messed a lot!!

65% of India’s 250 million children study in public schools, and many of these are not yet ready for the digital world — for digital learning.

When Abhishek Dubey and Rishi Raj realized the points where the Indian education system was falling, they decided to do something together to fix it.

The duo knew how much technology could impact and change the entire education sphere, and they wanted to do something along the same line. They started Muskaan Dreams in 2017 to bridge this digital gap by equipping classrooms and teachers with ways to be future-ready. 

“I was born and brought up in a very small village. I did my initial schooling at a government school, and a few years later, when my family moved to the city, I was put in a private school. That’s when I realized the huge gap between government and private schools. I noticed the inequality, and I wanted to bridge that gap. So when I went to college, I decided to do something for the community. So I came up with the idea of Muskaan Dreams. The idea was basically to solve the societal challenge in education. I realized how technology can change the way we learn and how it can reach the last mile learners. Our vision was to empower the educators, the system, and the technology to improve the learning experience of the children. That’s how, in 2017, Muskaan Dreams started with one school as a pilot model, and today, we are working with a hundred plus schools” says Abhishek, co-founder of Muskaan Dreams.

Muskaan Dreams is a social impact nonprofit organization that works to bridge the digital divide in Government schools by empowering teachers with technology.

They work with the government to build digital highways for public schools – by enabling digital infrastructure inside classrooms. Parallelly, their army of tech volunteers helps teachers use these digital resources and tools to improve the learning experience for their students. 

Work highlights:

  1. Enabling digital learning by providing digital infrastructure in schools
  2. Capacity building of teachers on using digital tools
  3. Helping teachers in community engagement digitally
  4. Accessing technology in making learning enjoyable, reachable and accessible to children

“Our core focus is to enable teachers to use digital infrastructure instead of just putting hardware in school. We have seen many times that people under CSR and government projects had installed hardware in schools, but teachers have stopped using it after some time because they are not really tech-savvy, and they had zero assistance in case of any issue.  We help teachers to enable existing digital infra in schools and also ensure effective usage for six months. Our tech volunteer’s army ensures smooth operations on the ground,” Abhishek further continues.

So far, the duo managed to achieve the following milestones:

  1. Reached out to 20k+ students in 100+ public schools through their Digital Shiksha project. 
  2. Reached 1.5 lac parents and teachers in covid-19 crisis through their VFS project to create awareness among children, parents and teachers.
  3. Connected children with local teachers on WhatsApp and collected their feedback to improve program delivery. 
  4. Built 100+ digital classrooms 
  5. Got listed in Forbes 30 Under 30, 2019
  6. Got appreciation by Hon’ble President & Vice president of India.

They further aim to improve the learning experience of children in government schools by continuing to build the digital capacity of schools and teachers. 

Abhishek concludes by saying:

“There are so many nonprofit organizations in India that are working with so much professionalism. They have a lot of opportunities for the youth or innovators who are actually passionate to solve the problems. There are ‘n’ number of challenges in this world, and till the time you have challenges, you will have opportunities because opportunities are born from challenges. As they say, there is a silver lining in everything. Having said that, the sector needs more innovators, more young minds who can solve these problems that require a lot of skill sets.

65% of India’s 250 million children study in public schools, and many of these are not yet ready for the digital world — for digital learning.

But let me tell you all, the biggest thing is satisfaction and empathy. And when you work with an organization that is working towards making an impact, you feel more satisfied because you are doing something. Because you know that you are here with a purpose, you are here to do something good for the people and society. So that’s what is the role of every individual coming into play. That’s how you can try to make an impact. And you don’t have to start your own organization to change the world, and you just have to be a part. And trust me, there is a lot of growth.

Talking about growth opportunities in the development sector, I think this sector is multi-faceted and is moving towards a more professional, more structured, and more scalable approach, just like for-profit organizations. This makes a lot of sense for the youth to be a part of this sector as it is creating a lot of opportunities, and as I mentioned, the growth is very high. And I am talking not just in terms of career growth but also economic and social growth. Because when you work with a nonprofit, you get more exposure, you are able to solve such complex problems. And it is very different from the corporate sector.

65% of India’s 250 million children study in public schools, and many of these are not yet ready for the digital world — for digital learning.
Making digital learning easier

I think that there are a lot of opportunities here. You just have to identify the right organization and issues that you feel strongly about. The first step is to determine what kind of path your career will take because it is very important. You need to think about why I am doing what I am doing today. What’s the purpose behind my work, what kind of environment are we looking for, what is our core background, do we have something in our mind to do something big for our community, or do we just want to earn more money from the for-profit sector. Of Course, money is a very important part of our lives, but I think that if we talk about today’s world, the relevance of humans is in question.

Earlier, the development sector was seen as social work, without any income, and people were working part-time just on the weekends. But now people are working full time and also getting good salaries. Today, it’s no longer needed to sacrifice legitimate personal desires to make a difference because now the development sector is giving a good salary. They are giving all the functionalities and opportunities that for-profit business gives. 

In the end, I would just say that if you are passionate about problem-solving, if you really want to make an impact or at least be a part of it, if you feel that there are a lot of issues in the society that needs to be bridged, then this is the right place for you!”

Stay tuned with NextBigWhat for more such inspiring and informative stories! #TowardsABetterWorld

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