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INDIA: Online, in-person lessons reach children in slums

Don Bosco Development Society conducts remedial education lessons for 507 children from the slums of Mumbai


(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Development Society, the planning and development office of the Salesian Province of Mumbai, India, is conducting remedial education lessons for 507 children from the slums of Mumbai. The lessons are being taught online and in-person with all COVID-19 safety precautions in place. Training sessions for 20 teachers and six staff members were also held. These lessons focused on project objectives, class management, teaching materials and addressing learning difficulties.

Teachers devote two to three hours a day to teaching children who need remedial lessons. They use audiovisual aids and logs to track each child’s progress and learning outcomes. A project coordinator meets with teachers to evaluate the work done and with the children’s parents, to thank them for their dedication, motivation and commitment to continue their children’s education despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

Parents were informed of education department guidelines that state that parents must be present during the children’s online lessons and student assessment. This isn’t always easy for parents, so supporting them in the process is critical to a student’s success.

“Salesian missionaries are modifying how they work with poor youth and their parents in the face of the pandemic,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian schools and teachers have had to quickly learn how to modify lessons to ensure youth are receiving the education they need. These remedial lessons are another step in the educational process.”

Prior to the pandemic, Don Bosco Development Society was providing education in 10 villages in the state of Rajasthan for 300 extremely poor and disadvantaged children, including children of farmers and quarry workers. This is one project among many that is helping the poor and disadvantaged to have hope for the future.

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.

India’s youth also face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.



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