Feb 26, 2021

Bringing Children Back to Classrooms in COVID

Learning shouldn't stop
Learning shouldn't stop

"The greatest danger is that children from marginalized backgrounds will lose out on their education and we cannot let this happen. The scale of the challenge demands innovation, partnership and solidarity. We need to act urgently and work together as one" - Global Education Coalition, Message from Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

At the onset of the pandemic, children in rural and urban slums of India were cut off from learning networks. For months, they could not come to class, as the programs remained suspended from March when lockdown began and school closures continue. Furthermore, internet access remains a luxury for most in rural India. Most of our target groups families have either one smartphone or no smartphones at all and hence could not access digital education, where it was provided. Furthermore, they were struggling to sustain livelihoods during the trying months of the pandemic. Furthermore, most of our students (over 80%) are first-generation learners with little to no support and no facilitating education environments at home. 

We found that this significant break has led to a drop in the learning levels of children, which was already low. They needed immediate assistance and continued access to learning networks. However, the starting point was not the same for all children in 2020-2021. Being cut off from learning, social and friendship networks has setback primary education in rural India, especially the education of the girl-child. We are working with communities to send their children back to school because learning shouldn't stop and we are making sure of it.

Greater challenges demand greater resolve. And that is when we decided that the class should reach them instead. August onwards, our filed teams including teachers, senior teachers and supervisors reached kids within their homes and started teaching them in groups of five, maintaining COVID protocols. They had been in constant touch with the parent. communities and even provided assistance with other difficult and challenging situations emerging from COVID.  

We need support from partners like you to keep children studying and in classrooms. Over the next two months, our aim is to assess learning levels, support children and parents struggling with preparing for assessments as well as to conduct oral tests for over 3000 children in Farrukhabad, UP. Pedagogy has been made more robust as children could not come to classrooms from March until September and are currently studying in small batches, maintain social distancing.   

E&H Foundation is enabling quality education for children in rural and urban slums of Uttar Pradesh with proven models and robust pedagogy. Join us in bringing missing children back to classrooms. 

COVID has been especially tough on the girl-child
COVID has been especially tough on the girl-child
Teaching within homes in groups of five in UP
Teaching within homes in groups of five in UP
Oct 29, 2020

Key Achievements and Highlights of 2019-2020

Sharing key achievements & highlights for the academic year 2019-2020 where we supported the primary education of over 7000 children in the rural and urban slums of two districts of Uttar Pradesh - Farrukhabad and Lucknow.  

  • In the academic year 2019-2020, E&H Foundation supported the education of approximately 7100 students from Std 1 to 5 in partnership with the Gyan Shala and the Bharti Foundation models in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Of these, 6337 students were covered under the Gyan Shala model in the urban slums of towns of Farrukhabad and Lucknow districts in Uttar Pradesh and another 720 students were being supported through three operational schools under the aegis of Bharti Foundation in the rural slums of Farrukhabad district.
  • Under ESO’s Gyan Shala model in the academic year 2019-2020, E&H Foundation ran a total of 253 classes covering 6337 students from Std 1 to 5.
  • 80% of these students are first-generation learners & 50% of students enrolled are girls.
  • Coverage in Farrukhabad was through 160 classes supporting the education of 3876 children from Std 1 to 5 and coverage in Lucknow was through 93 classes supporting the education of 2461 students from Std 1 to 3.
  • This program has enabled a strong foundation for these first-generation learners. The classroom environment has induced further motivation that reflects in their continuous assessments and improved performance throughout the year.
  • One of the key achievements of this program has been the facilitation of education for these first-generation learners all coming from extremely poor family backgrounds and bastis in UP.
  • The average attendance of the overall program stands at 68% across both districts in all of the 253 classes. Average attendance for Farrukhabad classes is and for Lucknow classes is
  • This attendance is extremely good given the prevailing truancy in the state of Uttar Pradesh; on a random visit, attendance of students remained below 60% in public schools according to ASER 2018. This good attendance is achieved through the motivation of parents and continuous efforts of field team during the year.
  • Teachers, supervisors and core team members underwent 8-10 rigorous and intensive ‘Monthly Training’ in the year, along with semi-annual “Refresher Trainings’.
  • For the first time this academic year, oral examinations were conducted for Std 1-3 in the month of September to analyses the performance of students & measure learning outcomes on the basis of their answers. These oral examinations were conducted for all 228 classes of Std 1-3 in Farrukhabad and Lucknow districts.  Learning outcomes are shared in section 8 of this report.
  • In the mid-term and final examinations conducted in March, 83% of the students (5238 out of total 6337 students) gave exams. Out of these, over 70% of students scored above 60% marks and only 6% of students scored below 40% marks. 
  • Third-party assessments (EI’s ASSET Test) were conducted in March 2019 to test the average performance of students beyond internal examinations. On comparing ASSET average to the performance average of our students, we find that the performance of students of all classes and subjects is higher than the average ASSET scores for Mathematics and Science in U.P.
  • Overall, this program fostered enhanced learning amongst student indicating that the support has led to further motivation that reflects in student’s continuous assessments and improved performance over the year.
Jul 7, 2020

Motivating first-gen learners to continue learning

Sisters Shareen (L) and Amreen (R) in UP, India
Sisters Shareen (L) and Amreen (R) in UP, India

Earlier this year, E&H Foundation along with its team of interns conducted the first part of its ongoing research study aimed at assessing the long-term impact of our programs and partnerships. It was a chilly January afternoon; when we had just entered the Bhikampura (Farrukhabad) locality for our weeklong survey. This included going back to the children from earlier batches of our program (2013-14; 15-15, 15-16 & so on) conducting interviews with parents, teachers and children as well as engaging with the communities.

The goal was to understand how many children are continuing education after graduating from our classes at Std 3 & 5, understanding parent’s perceptions regarding their children’s future ambitions as well as current education status. After brief meetings and quick rounds into the classrooms of ongoing classes, we began field surveys and interviews. Group discussions, community meetings as well as door-to-door surveys were also conducted

There were many interesting encounters but one was deeply memorable.  

Motivating children to continue learning/ Family that learns together, grows together

In the interiors of the Bhikampura colony, resides the Khan family. A chirpy little household painted blue and white where two families reside together. The family was one of the first we visited, as the children had been part of the E&H Foundation run the program (in partnership with Gyan Shala model) for 5 years. The three siblings Amreen, Shareen, and Arman were part of the Gyan Shala system and were eager to share their experience with us. 

All three (Amreen, Shareen & Arman) studied under the program from Std 1-5 and are all first-general learners. Like most families in the area, they too earn their living through Zardozi work. Their father, a Zardozi worker has migrated and works away from home in Punjab and their mother does the same job at home, part-time.

Learning to chase dreams of a quality life

All three children are currently studying in nearby government schools. Here were a bunch of kids who were extremely excited to talk about school, what they learn, and what they like. The survey and interviews were going on as per schedule, the children, mother, and little siblings all engrossed. Each of them discussed passionately their learning experience and how it urged them to learn more and study more.

Highly motivated and sincere in their work which reflected in their grades and most importantly acknowledged by the teachers as well. Their mother, Noori, was keen to see her children flourish and willing to support their education till wherever the children would like to study. She did express the difficulty they face financially, “but that would not weigh down on my children’s dreams”, she says. 

The children were zealous and aspired to move ahead in their lives. One of them is driven to become an inspector in the police, one a teacher, and many other ideas racing through their minds.

The commendable thing about their situation was that despite the strain they faced financially they still insisted that their children attended school and in case of extra support, even had the option of attending remedial classes within their locality.

According to the family, their ‘first school’ or E&H Foundation is where they learnt everything from reading, writing, to make basic calculations.

“Classes were held and taught is an orderly manner; the teachers always took a personal interest in us. A lot of our friends could not clear the entrance for Std 6 and that is where the classes made all the difference” – they said.

The involvement of teachers encouraged the students and especially parents to send their children to classes. Post Std 5, when the children wanted to enter into mainstream government and private schools, they firmly believed that they cleared the entrance due to the learning achieved in classes and the help supervisors and field team provided at the time of mainstreaming. This is also possible due to the consistent efforts of the field team, the parent’s motivation as well as the continued support our classes have received our partners. Fostering long-term learning outcomes and motivation for continued learning is possible only due to the persistent presence of our organization, partners and program in the colony, but especially in Bhikampura where the program is running since 2013. 

These first-generation learners are now keen to study further and achieve greater heights. Their youngest sibling, Mahim (5) is currently enrolled in Std 1 and is eagerly waiting to return to class as soon as COVID-19 related fear and outspread is controlled. In the absence of support from partners like you, there is a high possibility that these children would not have been able to access primary quality education or continue learning in the first place.

We are currently supporting marginalized communities to survive through these tough times by focussing on providing relief and rehabilitation to the most vulnerable 3000 families (including parents of children enrolled under our educational program who are currently out of work due to COVID-19).

The Khan Family at their home in Farrukhabad
The Khan Family at their home in Farrukhabad
The youngest member of the family - Ayaz (3)
The youngest member of the family - Ayaz (3)
Noori  with Arman (L) and the youngest, Ayaz
Noori with Arman (L) and the youngest, Ayaz
Noori with Arman (L) and the youngest, Ayaz
Noori with Arman (L) and the youngest, Ayaz
Mahim (5) is studying in Std 1 of our program
Mahim (5) is studying in Std 1 of our program
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