The Rajasthan Govt has introduced Social Media Interface for Learning Engagement (Smile Program), to ensure education continuity through whatsapp groups. This has been done due to complete lockdown of the nation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools and colleges have been closed until May 3, 2020 hindering education for millions of students all over India.
The SMILE Program will provide study material through 20,000 whatsapp groups, to both students and teachers. Study videos will be uploaded at 9:00 am everyday in accordance with the syllabus of class 1-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12. E-content will be uploaded first on state whatsapp groups, then PEEO (Panchayat Elementary Education Officer List), and FTB (Free Text Books), groups via CDEO and CBEO. Each video uploaded will be of 30-40 minutes.
This is the first time in the history of India, that the education industry has been obstructed to function for 3 months in a row. Hence, it is very important that the future of the students is saved. Studying or teaching through a virtual class is difficult indeed. But nothing is more important than the safety of teachers, students and society as a whole.
Many students will benefit from this scheme according to the School Education Minister of Rajasthan, Mr. Govind Singh Dotasra. More than lakhs of students will be able to study at the comfort of their homes. This initiative is also expected to raise the bar of the Government Education System.
Parents and students have been added to these whatsapp groups. However, if the parents/students do not have whatsapp access, they can easily get the e-content from SMILE Facebook and Youtube channel as well. Director of Secondary Education, Saurabh Swami told that a poster regarding the topic of video/study material will be released in the morning everyday.
The benefit of providing e-content is that students will not have to sit idle. Once, they have a task in hand, their sole aim would be to solve it, before the prescribed time. Students can learn new skills, new ways of learning, from this method.
Students and teachers will also be assessed during online study. All the education providers will have to submit the number of distributed educational content to the competent authority as and when asked to. Students will also be assessed by teachers accordingly. Regular assignments and tasks will be given to students too.
With online education as the only option, the start of SMILE Program, Rajasthan has definitely proved as a step ahead in the education sector. This initiative will definitely save the academic session from being wasted and also keep students in discipline in terms of their studies.
For more updates on the SMILE Program, one can search for #smileprogram on twitter. The program can also be accessed through social medical channels, which in future, will be shared with the students. One can also follow the social media accounts of the education minister of Rajasthan for more data. Students, if still confused, can reach out to their teachers/mentors to clear out their confusion.