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Social Capital Credits for Equitable Learning

Crossing the Digital Chasm

Photo of Nidhi Tandon
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I am a.....

  • Organization

Tell us about your idea

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Asia Initiatives has launched an innovative award winning new program known as SoCCs Buddies, aimed at bettering learning outcomes for the students. SoCCs Buddies blends our SoCC(Social Capital Credits)  system with a pool of mentors to deliver individualized teaching to students in underprivileged communities in India. The combination of a new mobile app and  Zoom video conferencing service is used to provide English Language instructions to empower the children in slums. Fluency in English is considered an essential skill in India that influences both employability and wages. Our program is designed with the dual purpose of helping these children master their language skills remotely via Zoom sessions, as well as, target the learning attrition resulting from the time spent out of school due to closure. An additional benefit includes developing their skills and preparing them to access global online resources from sites such as Khan Academy and Byju. Our mobile app will allow both teachers and students to login in and track their progress, and earn and redeem “SoCCs” within the app for various goods and services offered. Redemption items range from reusable menstrual pads, digital skills sessions, all the way to rebuilding a community.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

Despite the current virtual transition in the filed of education and its associated drawbacks, the COVID19 crisis has exposed the vulnerabilities and stark inequities in education. The underlying disparities have overwhelmingly affected the racial and ethnic minorities, children with special needs, low-income migrant students, and students in informal sectors. If anything, the pandemic has revealed that internet access is a basic necessity and efforts should be prioritized to make it universally available. It is this disparity that we need to leave behind. The need of the hour is to encompass a vast array of collaborative measures to ensure universal connectivity, provision of low cost mobile devices to those in need, and e-learning support that will serve as a catalyst for long term solutions and build equity and resilience in the schools.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

I am currently serving as an educational advisor for the New York based non-profit Asia initiatives. With the schools closed, we were faced with the challenge of increased inequity and inequality in access to resources, and with the struggle to keep the at-risk students engaged during the lockdown. To prevent the learning attrition, we decide to leverage the support of a team of dedicated high-school mentors from New Jersey Public Schools who are now implementing lessons via Zoom and our App built specifically for this purpose, and providing the target students  the necessary support to continue their learning. 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

The mission of Asia Initiatives (AI), a non-profit based in the heart of New York City, is to leverage the power of social capital to promote healthcare, education , improve livelihoods, and sustainable development, striving to bring positive change in the quality of life of people in under served communities. With a particular focus on women and their families, our initiatives utilize transformative methodologies and technologies to empower people to realize their full potential.

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