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Odisha NGOs launch #Mission1lakh to 'bridge' education gap of primary children

By Our Representative 

In an effort to bridge the learning gaps among students of primary grade (classes 1 to 5) in Odisha arisen during the lockdown period, a new initiative called Mo Chatashalee has been aunched in Bhubaneswar by civil society organization (CSO) Atmashakti Trust and its allies Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha (OSM) and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha (MSMO). Odia film actor Varsha Priyadarshini inaugurated the initiative.
The initiative, which is also known as #Mission1lakh, will cover 1 lakh students from 17 districts -- Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bolangir, Boudh, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Nayagarh, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Deogarh and Sambalpur, as also slums of Bhubaneswar under Khurda district.
These children mostly depend on government schools for education and could not access online education during the lockdown due to lack of resources such as a smartphone, TV, or irratic internet connectivity, pushing them at the periphery of education. The initiative which will have 100 days of learning will serve as an alternative learning avenue for the children to bridge learning gaps among them.
During the lockdown, the Atmashakti Trust started Mission 3-5-8 campaign in order to provide remedial classes in 82 blocks of 17 districts to 4,364 school children of classes 3, 5 and 8 by offering them remedial classes to bridge learning gaps so that they can be at par with their peers.
“As the results were encouraging”, said Anjan Pradhan, convener of Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha, “the new programme has been launched. It will be run through community contribution and volunteers will teach free of cost to these children.”
Under the Mo Chatashalee initiative, more than 7,500 remedial teaching centres will be run with 10 to 25 children each will impart education, based on the location and taking care of the physical distancing norms and they will be looked after by a trained volunteer, selected from the locality.
These volunteers will be trained to take remedial classes for these students so that they achieve minimum levels of learning appropriate to their class and can bridge the learning gaps, caused due to the loss of learning following the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent school closure.
The remedial classes will follow the state government’s Ujjwal module, a learning enhancement programme for classes 1 to 5 in an effort improve mathematics and Odia language skills among students initially. The volunteers will assess the students frequently to understand the learning outcomes.
Among others, former finance minister Panchanan Kanungo, senior journalist Mr Priya Ranjan Sahu, convener of the Odisha Right to Education (RTE) Forum Anil Pradhan, educationist Dr Supriya Mallick and Dileswari Dharua, a volunteer teacher from Balangir, joined the inaugural event. During the event, 19 volunteer teachers from various parts of the state along with media persons were felicitated for their supporting Mission 3-5-8 campaign during lockdown.
Ohers who joined the event included about 50 school going children, their parents, community members and representatives of the civil society organisations took part. Prabhasini Mohanty and Manoja Mishra from the Matrushakti Foundation; Ruchi Kashyap, executive trustee, Atmashakti Trust; and Anjan Pradhan, convener, Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha, also attended.

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