This is the story of a LWE affected district of Bihar state, story of education in roots of India, story of Banka.
Banka has an average literacy rate of 58.17 % much below the national average with majority tribal population. This when combined with the startling fact that only 35% of the students passed the Bihar State Board Examination clearly highlights the dismal condition of education in the region.
With the vision to provide quality education to every student, we at Eckovation started Project Unnayan Banka collaborating with District Administration of Banka. Technology in school education has for long been considered a quagmire which has swallowed many startups. And that too in Indian Government Schools, that too in a village in Bihar, that too in a LWE affected village in Banka, many friends advised us that the project was doomed to be a failure.
We initiated our journey with the field research to realise the ground concerns that may affect the vision of the project. We visited 18 schools in the first phase. The experience was distressing, muddy miry lanes opened into the ruin building, “khandar.” There were only a couple of classrooms in the school with very poor attendance. There was no furniture for students and they were sitting on carpets. Some schools had no science teacher and students never learned science as a subject before. But the funny (and fortunate) thing was, there existed a computer room with an LED TV which was apparently locked for years.
With bare minimum resources and little hopes, we initially launched the project in 5 schools where basic infrastructure including Smart TV was available and identified two highly motivated teachers from these schools. The schools who became partner in this pilot phase were: Project Girls High School, Chandan, Banka District, Bihar; CMS Sr Sec High School, Shahpur, Banka District, Bihar; Project Girls High School, Katoria, Banka District, Bihar; JPSHS Gurudwar, Banka District, Bihar and PGHS Kharhara.
First 15 days of implementation were very difficult, electricity cuts at the time of Unnayan Classes; schools were not able to play unnayan session without IT support and most importantly we needed a tool for continuous monitoring and accountability. We provided proper training and motivation sessions to teachers to make them friendly with IT operations and trained them for daily reporting on Eckovation App. Schools bought inverters from their development funds to avoid interruptions in unnayan classes. The support from all these 5 schools, education department and IT team of district helped us set actionable insights for scaling the project while ensuring accountability through best use of advancing technology.
In this pilot phase, involvement and performance of tribal and minority students was highly encouraging wherein the average marks of students almost doubled in just 6 days, before Unnayan sessions the average marks of students was 37% and post Unnayan session the average marks rose to 70.9%. This motivated Team Unnayan to expand the project and currently, include more than 4700 students. The project is going strong, riding on the enthusiasm of the students and their teachers.
Most importantly this initiative has helped regain faith in the society towards government school education system.
Students of Unnayan Banka
Students of Unnayan Banka majorly belongs to tribal communities of Banka and has been deprived of quality education for years. This initiative has created hopes in the students and their families to excel in academics and provide much needed support to their families.
- 4700+ students are preparing for Class 10 Bihar Board Examination
- 283 students are preparing for Class 12 Bihar Board Examination
- 40 students are preparing for Engineering Entrance Exams
- 15 students are preparing for Medical Entrance Exams
- 10 students are learning higher software technical skills like designing websites, programming skills, android development, making remote controlled bots etc.
Impact of Implementation of Unnayan Banka
Unnayan sessions are active in 40 schools of Banka district covering all the blocks of the district. The reach of Unnayan is ensured in the remotest village of Banka through “mini-school mobile vans” and Unnayan sessions in the Block Divisions Office.
The effort of District Administration of Banka and Eckovation Team has resulted in outstanding improvement in the results of students.
Eckovation is bridging the gap in education opportunities for a student studying in convent school of Delhi and a student studying in a government school with poor infrastructure and untrained teachers in a village of Bihar through technological solutions.