Empowering kids through digital pathshala
Newgen Software is empowering children through its digital education programme. It began with Sadbhavna in 2006 to help children with their education and overall development. A decade later, in 2016, the company launched its core CSR Initiative ‘Newgen Digital Discovery Paathshala’. This was done with the sole aim of transforming the classroom sessions from routine academic hours to fun, learning activities for children.
To gain better understanding about the project, 6to16.in spoke to Newgen’s Head-CSR Priyadarshini Nigam.
Tell us about Newgen Digital Discovery Pathshala in detail. Who is the brain behind this Pathshala. And How did it all began.
Newgen being a technology company has always focused on how to use the power of technology to evolve this positive transformation. Before the beginning of the Newgen Digital Discovery Pathshaala (NDDP), Newgen started ‘Sadbhavna’ – an educational program for children, almost a decade ago in 2006, even before government’s CSR mandate. This program is focused on overall development of a student and have created many success stories till date.
In April 2016, Newgen launched its flagship CSR program, Newgen Digital Discovery Pathshaala (NDDP), a specially designed program to develop e-learning skills among school students. This stems from the vision of Newgen’s Managing Director. The NDDP program aims at stimulating the minds of the children using modern day technologies such as iPads and Internet.
How are classroom sessions turned into fun and learning? How are the teaching modules developed?
Newgen Digital Discovery Paathshala aims at transforming classroom sessions into fun–learning activities and to make school curriculum more meaningful through intuitive teaching methods.
At the pathshala, we use various methodologies like role play, quiz, audio visuals, movies and presentations while conducting these sessions, which not only enhance the e-learning skills of the children but also generate curiosity in them.
We have also introduced learning through iPad for students of class 6, 7 and 8 . The Pathshala classroom sessions are therefore very interactive, there are no textbooks, and students are encouraged to speak-up, discuss, do research on ipads, gather more information about subjects being taught and participate in class. Prizes are distributed every month to children who were most active during the sessions.
There is much attention paid to the modules developed in lines with the school’s syllabus and taking other related topic as the baseline. Regular tests and assessments are conducted to analyze a child’s progress and help in their development.
We also do camping activities during vacations to keep them engaged with creative activities like craft, drawing and dramatics with emphasis on team building activities.
Remedial classes are held for the weak students to bring them at par with the rest of the class.
How many schools have been adopted so far?
We began the Newgen Digital Discovery Paathshala at Government Girls School, Harkesh Nagar, Delhi, in April, 2016. Initially, we started the program with nearly 900 children of class 6th and 7th. However, in April, 2017, class 8th students, also joined the program, and we now have nearly 1,300+ children attending the NDDP sessions, every week.
How many facilitators are involved in Pathshala?
Newgen has, over the last one year, formed a smart and competitive CSR team, with the right skill sets, to work with school children, and manage the NDDP program. The focus of the team is to work in a collaborative manner and create systems and a strong foundation for the program. Creating content based on school syllabus, lesson plans, reporting post and pre-sessions, delivery, and work allocation are some of the critical areas that have been defined and adherence to them is mandatory. For every class, minimum of two facilitators have been assigned. When I pad sessions are conducted, often, Newgen volunteers also participate.
As of now you have class 6 and 7 students. Any specific reason why children below the class 6 and above the class 7 are not involved.
The Government Girls School, Harkesh Nagar, where the NDDP program is being run, is from Class 6 to class 12. Before we started NDDP program in the school, we conducted a pilot for four months from November, 2015 to end of February, 2016 for class 6 students.The idea was to assess the learning abilities of the students while using iPads, viewing audiovisuals and presentations. We realized that at the age of 10-13, students were very receptive and they were very curious to learn new technology and were highly sensitive to the course content. Therefore, we began NDDP sessions with class sixth and seventh, in April 2016 and within a year class 8 also joined in the program.
Perhaps, in the coming years the school authorities will assign us senior classes as well.
What are your future plans?
Newgen’s core CSR program is NDDP. Right now our continuous efforts are to make the current school curriculum more interactive and interesting through the digital aids. Also, we want to concentrate on identifying talent and aptitude of students, at a young age, and help groom them to choose an appropriate career path through Digital Empowerment.
NDDP is now a well-established program at the Government Girl’s School, Harkesh Nagar. Initially, we started this program with nearly 900 children of 6, and 7class, however, beginning of April, 2017, class 8th students also joined. And we now have nearly 1,300+ children attending the NDDP sessions every week.
Over the next five years, we are planning to adopt more schools in Delhi and replicate the same format in these schools.
Also, we plan to build a portal that can be accessed by the school children, where they can revise their syllabus, do simple quizzes, and grade themselves.