Surrounded by lush greenery, beautiful landscapes and waterfalls, Sohbar, a village in East khasi hills district of Meghalaya is around 75 km away from Shillong. But sadly, the village still does not have mobile network connectivity, which in turn puts to question mobile service providers’ claim of inclusively robust connectivity and reliability.
Mobile network connectivity, which in the present context of COVID19 is considered indispensable for learning, became a burning issue in the village as students’ education was badly hit in its absence. However, acting as a true messiah, Ramakrishna Mission (RKM), took up the challenge and readily provided an effective solution enabling children of Sohbar to continue with their school education.
Founded on May1, 1897, by Ramakrishna’s chief disciple Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna Mission carries out extensive educational and philanthropic work in India and has a strong presence in the North East region of the country.
The Harbinger of Hope
The pandemic has suddenly changed the school education system of India, making it a virtual learning mode for more than 35 million school going children of India.
Weak internet connectivity in rural areas is a major hurdle to scale up the outreach of the school level education in the country. As National Educational Policy stresses on online classes and digital learning, education becomes a challenge for students residing in remote villages. Moreover, getting quality teachers is also a herculean task. Ramakrishna Mission Institutes of Sohra and Shillong did a path breaking job by successfully demonstrating the technological capability of conducting online classes by using intra-net in a no-internet zone.
The online academic classes of HIKAI (Hybrid Interactive Knowledge Assimilation Initiative) from classes 1 to 12 were inaugurated at Ramakrishna Mission Secondary School, Sohbar. The initiative is going to help about one thousand students residing in Sohbar area where internet connectivity and mobile network connectivity is a distant dream.
Speaking about the initiative, Swami Anuragananda, Secretary Ramakrishna Mission, Sohra, said,“For last three weeks, Ramakrishna Mission has launched online classes for students studying under Meghalaya Board of Secondary Education (MBOSE). The aim is to provide these services to the remotest corner in Meghalaya where internet availability is a major issue. Moreover, these areas suffer from a lack of quality teachers. So, the “HIKAI” programme bridges the gap between rural and urban children through technology. So far, students from 55 different schools including the RKM schools under MBOSE have enrolled for the free online classes. Some of the features of this online learning programme include pre-recorded lectures, quizzes, one-to-one interactions and daily assignments.”
Ramakrishna Mission also distributed android tabs among the students in order to make use of the modules. Users agree that the pre recorded sessions are well conceived and are designed and presented through a blend of slides, audio-visuals, and animations.
Moving away from the popular trend of sharing notes and videos on social media platforms, RKM has come up with a hybrid platform of their own that enables students to access quality contents through a two-way communication process in real time and through android app, even without an active internet connection. The platform makes use of a Wi-Fi zone and a local server. The HIKAI project is free for students of MBoSE who can get them registered on rkmhikai.online to access the services. The project is believed to have potential of helping lakhs of students across the state.