Lockdown Learning: Student from Rural India wins 3rd Prize in an All India Contest

That technology is a great enabler and digital learning has bridged the urban-rural divide has come to fore during Covid-19. Students from rural India have not only embraced virtual learning in a big way but some have also utilised the time and have participated in online competitions and emerged winners.

Reya Thirumalai, a Class 9 student from the Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School, Manjakkudi Village, Tiruvarur District, Tamil Nadu, recently took part in an All-India online painting competition ‘Sampark-20’ and bagged the 3rd prize. She submitted a pencil sketch of a girl.

Run by the Swami Dayananda Educational Trust, an implementation partner of AIM for Seva, (a pan India charity that focuses on rural education), the Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School embraced the virtual classroom (for classes 1 to 12) model post the announcement of the national lockdown on 24 March.

Close to 56% of the school students have now migrated to the online learning model and this number continues to rise every day. In case of matriculation and higher secondary classes, this figure is higher at 80%.

What’s pertinent to note here is that students are sons and daughters of farmers who come to the educational institution from 300 neighbouring villages daily.  What’s inspiring is that the lockdown coupled with lack of access to devices such as smart phones, laptops or desktops has not deterred the students’ spirit of knowledge gaining.

At close quarters to the school, the Swami Dayananda College of Arts& Science, Manjakkudi Village became the first college in Tiruvarur District to use Google Classrooms. Over 86% of the students have signed up and are using the app actively for 11 courses.

About Swami Dayananda Educational Trust (SDET)

Started in 2003, the Swami Dayananda Educational Trust is an integrated community development initiative spearheaded out of Manjakkudi Village in Tiruvarur District. We run 3 educational institutions (2 schools and a college), a Vedapatashala, an organic farm where indigenous and heritage rice varieties are sown and harvested, a Goshala that is home to breeds from across India and an Ayurvedic and wellness centre.

The Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School, Manjakkudi Village, Tiruvarur District, Tamil Nadu has 905 students and this co-educational institution imparts education from Kindergarten to 12 (K-12).  The objective is to provide comprehensive learning to students from rural India with a focus on value-based education.

The Swami Dayananda College of Arts & Science, Tamil Nadu, is affiliated to the Bharathidasan University. With 80% of its students being first generation learners, the institution has encouraged and spread the value of education across 300 villages from which its students come from. Along with academics, the college encourage extra-curricular activities.

In the current academic year, 1758 students are enrolled. Of this, 980 are girls and 778 are boys. The college currently offers 11 Under Graduate courses, 3 Post Graduate courses, 2 M.Phil courses and 1 Diploma.