Coronavirus in Mumbai: Masoom NGO steps in to facilitate virtual classes for night school students

Due to the lockdown restrictions all the schools and educational institutions are shut. While most of the private educational institutes have initiated e-learning for their students so that they complete their syllabus on time, the same facility is not easily available for students coming from poor families who go to night schools.

Masoom, a non-profit organisation established to provide quality education in night schools has launched a crowdfunding drive through Milaap Foundation to purchase smart phones and other equipments for such poor students so that they successfully undertake virtual learning classes at this critical time of lockdown. Moreover, the NGO is also appealing to people to donate second-hand smartphones, so that those students who do not have the means can also participate in the live learning classes, said Nikita Ketkar, founder of Masoom.

Interested people one can donate cash or second-hand smartphones by contacting the below numbers 9167577131 – Communications (Kunda Shelar) and 9967133001 (Ramadas).

Ketkar said that by donating smartphones people can save one whole year of these students and keep their hope alive for better employment. "The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has disrupted studies of the night school students. In such dire circumstances night school students are grappling with economic, social, and educational crisis. As the schools remain closed, online classes are being conducted by Masoom for the 10th grade students to keep up with their academics. The biggest hurdle that we are facing here is that more than 30 per cent (around 400 out of 1,250) of them do not have access to smartphones and cannot attend online classes," she said.

Generally the night school students are those who work during the day and study in the evenings. These students work as courier boys, canteen helpers, newspaper vendors, domestic help, etc.

Masoom is currently working in 86 night Schools in Mumbai, Pune, Ahmednagar, and Nagpur. Ketkar stated, "Currently four batches have been started from the first week of April and subjects of Maths, Science, English and Marathi are taught. The session starts at 10 am and each session lasts for one and a half hour. Besides, Saturdays are kept for doubt solving session. To ensure attention of students the session is limited for up to 30 students at a time. We plan to start 20 batches by mid June as we hope by then those who do not have smartphones will get one as the drive has already been started."

Moreover, to ensure smooth learning for students, a team of 35 teachers have been trained over how to take online sessions on the main four subjects. The founder explained "Due to less teaching staff currently from Mumbai only 300 students in four batches are able to take the online classes. Once the teaching material and teachers get trained the batches will simultaneously be expanded by mid June."

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