Monday, 15 October 2012

Why Vodafone Foundation in India decided to launch Learning with Vodafone project

- Laura Turkington

Laura Turkington is Country Director, Vodafone Foundation, India which focuses on improving access to a better education, empowering women, and using mobile innovation to bring social change.

The Vodafone Foundation’s Mobile for Good initiative is dedicated to mobilising communities around the world to improve their lives.  At the heart of the foundation is the belief that our mobile communication technologies can address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. It is our responsibility to utilise our innovative mobile technology to deliver social change and improve people’s lives. The ‘Learning with Vodafone’ project is a good opportunity to pursue this agenda using our mobile technology in 1000 low income-schools across India and potentially enhance education for more than 50,000 children.

Despite the fact that school registration rates in India are up, some children still aren’t getting access to proper education. Amongst other factors, this has led to approximately 45% of all students dropping out of school before eighth grade.  Often children are disengaged in the classroom and boredom results with many children preferring to be outside playing.

The Vodafone Foundation believes that the webbox helps to address this issue making learning more fun and interactive for the children whilst empowering teachers at the same time with a new toolkit to supplement the traditional means of teaching. We don’t want to replace the teacher, but instead help the teacher in their pedagogy to make the classroom a more dynamic, engaging environment for all.
Plans for rolling out this learning platform to 1000 schools are well underway. Selecting the right schools that understand the benefit of the webbox and are committed to exploring its potential are vital for the success of this programme and Pratham is doing a great job of selecting the right partners for this project. In parallel, we are measuring the benefits of this new approach to learning amongst both children and teachers alike.  Despite still being in its early days, the feedback so far has been most encouraging. Science and Maths for these 6th and 7th grade pupils now offers a whole new experience!