Written by : Amit (Volunteer, UPAY)
COVID 19 was an unprecedented time that hit not only people but also every institution and organization equally. During this period, everyone went through their thick and thins of life. It was a bumpy journey for most of us, and the same was the case with UPAY. However, while facing all the adversities, UPAY and its team didn’t accept the beat and explored alternative ways to uplift the morale of its students by engaging them in online classes.
Online classes transition came into effect when the Government announced a complete lockdown in March 2020. It was a time when UPAY decided not to hold back and accepted the internet as a medium to deliver virtual classes.
Initially, students faced a lot of difficulties to upgrade themselves and keep pace with the new normal. For instance, the availability of smartphones and the internet was the biggest concern. Additionally, their family members were not fully aware of the usage of smartphones. Amidst such difficult circumstances, UPAY played a critical role. The teachers were not only expected to deliver lectures but also to help children learn using smartphones.
It started with the instructions of downloading the WhatsApp/ZOOM App on the mobile phones of the students’ parents. We, the teachers, spent enormous time guiding students on how to download apps and get them comfortable with their usage.
After achieving this milestone, another major thing was to understand the best ways to deliver virtual classes. Teachers like Amit, who were experiencing the new way of learning for the first time themselves, helping children cope up with it, was a gigantic task for them.
The efforts put in by the mentors as well as by the mentees were commendable, teachers took online classes by holding a mobile phone in one hand and writing notes by another hand so that students can see what they are instructing them and can also make notes of it.
However, all these difficulties and hardships turned into gold when students scored good marks in their exams. It also gave motivation to the mentors to contribute more.
Many a time it happened that mobile phones were not available to the students. Either the parents carried it along to work, or they didn’t simply own one. Setting aside learning, even gathering them on one single platform became a big challenge.
However, with the rigorous efforts, this battle was also won by the UPAY team, by making mentors or teachers available at the students’ convenience. For instance, teachers deliberated with each students’ parent regarding the availability of smartphones at home. Accordingly, the timings were set for classes.
Moreover, for students who were unable to afford the gadgets for classes, UPAY took the initiative and provided Tablets. Not only that, it took care of the internet top-ups, whenever required so that children could access quality education hassle-free.
We at UPAY strive for the upliftment of the deprived strata of society. For us, challenge means finding new possibilities. During the lockdown, we fought against all adversities. That is why we ~ each student, teacher, and volunteer say “We Love UPAY”.