To ensure there was no disruption in learning during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, which overlapped the start of the new academic session in April 2020, Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, developed and implemented a meticulous procedure of contact-less distribution of books.
Several changes were made to the process of disseminating education, especially for students in remote areas of India. In Satya Bharti Schools, teachers used various means to send daily learning activities to students. Class-wise and subject-wise WhatsApp groups were created, and online material and apps were shared with students. However, access to textbooks for the new academic session was essential to supplement their learning process.
Close to 2036 students from 9 schools in Tamil Nadu received textbooks for the new academic session through contact-less distribution.
Precautionary measures were taken at every step. Staff members involved in book distribution were given a 7-point document of instructions on COVID-19 precautions to follow while carrying out the task. These included instructions on keeping material ready two days prior to distribution, safe delivery of books to schools and parents, sorting of books, procedural planning and monitoring, etc. The process was carried out after prior intimation to local DMs, BEOs, and the Panchayats.
Parents of students were called to schools in separate time slots to collect books while strictly maintaining social distancing and mandatory sanitation guidelines. In a day, a maximum of 60 parents were allowed.
Teachers ensured that 10 to 15 book bundles were kept on desks before parents came to collect them. Staff members also ensured COVID-19 safety norms were followed by parents of students after they went back home. Even though all books were sanitized, parents were advised not to handover them to their children for a minimum of three days.
Binu Nair, Chief Program Operations, Bharti Foundation said, “It has been our constant effort to provide rural children access to quality education especially during COVID-19 induced lockdown. We at Bharti Foundation ensured that every child stayed engaged with education, while being at home. Book distribution is one among many initiatives. The team came together to ensure every child received textbooks maintaining the COVID-19 guidelines.”