At a time when digital divide has been posing huge challenges for the smooth conduct of online classes in Kerala, five schoolchildren in Kottayam district have come out with an impressive initiative.
Nihal Mathew, Niranjan Menon, Vinayak Dinesh, Kurien George Kalarickal, Kurien Kurien Kalarickal, all Grade 12 students of Pallikoodam School, Kottayam, joined hands to raise funds for buying Tablets for children from a poor financial background.
With an online crowdfunding campaign that was launched on June 12, the students have raised over Rs 4 lakh and donated over 40 Tablets to students of two government-run schools in Kanam and Kumarakom of Kottayam district.
The crowdfunding campaign was done in association with The Tiny Seed, a non-profit organisation dedicated to changing the lives of children by making their schools better places of learning.
"The pandemic has widened the gap in education for children especially with everything going digital. Unfortunately, many students of government schools do not have access to a smart phone or a Tablet, and this puts them at a great disadvantage," the Pallikoodam students say in their request for donations.
Those who wish to make donations can do so by logging in to https://pages.razorpay.com/tabletsschool. Any amount could be donated.
Donations can be done with a Credit/Debit card, Wallets, UPI, Net-banking, etc. The campaign has 80G tax benefits.
The crowdfunding campaign will end on June 30.
The crisis caused by "digital divide" existing in terms of virtual education has been a topic of discussion in Kerala and several government and non-governmental organisations have been trying to address the issue since last year.
The Kerala Assembly recently saw the ruling and opposition benches sparring over the number of students who lack access to online study facilities in the state.
Education Minister V Sivankutty said about 49,000 students do not have digital access in the state at present quoting the preliminary study of the Samagra Shiksha Kerala (SSK).
However, the opposition countered the figures pointing to a recent report by the Sasthra Sahithya Parishad, a Left outfit, according to which at least seven lakh students are away from the facilities to pursue online classes across the state.
Sivankutty assured the House that the government would provide digital facilities to all children.
The minister also said a total of 2.6 lakh students did not have access to digital facilities last year and the issue was resolved during the previous academic year itself.