BSI’s outreach has not only continued, but has also expanded. In addition to the partnership with Mata Balak Utkarsha Pratishthan (MBUP), BSI has also established partnerships with two new schools: Jnana Prabodhini Harali in Osmanabad District and Sondara
The goal, as always, is to improve underserved students’ access to quality, educational opportunities.
The COVID-19 pandemic soon was a dramatic factor in the plans at all schools. The result has also been an extremely challenging environment for many of us in our personal and professional lives.
As in the U.S., the pandemic required drastic changes and limitations for teaching in India. What BSI and our school partners in India are most pleased about is that there was a mutual ability to make quick and dramatic change in plans
Instead of implementing the agreed upon new programs and developing new facilities, the schools requested support for distance learning. BSI immediately agreed to put the planned projects “on hold” and allowed a transfer of the funds to provide equipment (e-tablets and Wi-Fi hot-spots) and resources for teacher training and e-curriculum content and tools.
In an amazingly short time the equipment was evaluated, obtained and distributed. Distance learning programs were soon ready for implementation. The school year is now well underway, and the education of students is continuing.
The successes, which may NOT have happened without BSI’s support, are reflected in comments from parents of students.
"Students started using new technology properly due to on line learning. The impact of self-study was significant. Those who were engrossed in games on mobile now realized how new technology could be beneficial for them. The teachers created the awareness in students towards the use of technology for study and for assessment. "
- Farjana I
"Due to online class the children started studying at home and realized that even exams could also be conducted on line!"
- Manisha P
"Children could appear for exams due to on line classes conducted by school."
- Vidya N
"We realized the progress our children are making due to on line teaching ."
- Sukeshini G
"Students study at home due to online classes. We can find out where they make errors, which helps us in conducting their studies. The school teachers conduct teaching wonderfully! "
"The studies are very neatly planned. Heartfelt thanks to school and salute to all the hardworking teachers, who kindly make it a point to contact the student at least once in a week. This helps."
- Gauri C
"On one side we all are struggling; on other side our teachers are putting all efforts to ensure students do not suffer. Our school has implemented the on line learning extremely well. Difficult subject like maths is being taught in English very well. English teaching is also good, which has helped in the students getting prepared well in the subject. Samarth has developed a liking in Hindi which is also a new subject for him, so is the case with study of surrounding environment. Teachers are doing a good job of teaching, which has helped Samarth in understanding subjects."
- Supriya M
"Contents are nice. Videos are made very well. Kindly help in explaining is useful."
- Siddharth P
Looking to the post-pandemic future with a positive attitude, we know that significant efforts and major funds will be required. It has become clear that in addition to various new programs, there is a universal need among socially oriented schools for on-going support with operating expenses – the largest component being teacher salaries. Teaching is no longer done solely as a social service; it is a professional avocation and source of income for families.
An idea proposed by BSI, and structurally developed with much support and effort by a volunteer in India, is a school endowment (in India known as a “Corpus Fund”). As a well-built building is essential for a school, a “financial foundation” is equally important for long-term success.
Income from earnings on the endowment would provide ongoing income to support a school’s operations. The “corpus” or “endowment” would be untouchable. This will require a large amount of funding. BSI proposes to pursue such an effort over several years in partnership with individual schools doing parallel fundraising in India.
An increasing body of research shows that empowering women is one of the most effective ways to make sure that children attend school. BSI’s partnership with MBUP in 2020 includes funding for its Self Help Groups (SHG) development programs. SHGs are designed to empower and teach women about investing and maintaining their finances. Our funds help with the instruction, training, and organizational support needed to establish and run village-level SHGs.