A community radio station, called Radio Vishwas, is giving audio classes to students in Nashik district amidst the covid-19 pandemic.
Due to the pandemic and subsequent restrictions, the education sector has been adversely affected. For many, now classes are taking place online through their smartphones and internet, but this kind of education is still inaccessible to many.
Savita Hiraman Thakre, a teacher from a Zila Parishad School recalls how the entire concept of education via community radio came together. "I teach in a Zila Parishad School in a village. The financial condition of the families of children in these schools is bad. After the lockdowns started, we questioned ourselves as to how we could teach these children," she says. The centre head called a meeting with all the teachers and decided that 500 kids be given an FM Radio station, through which educational lectures could be delivered. "We all invested a total of ₹2.5 lakh for this purpose. Initially, the initiative was inaccessible to some kids due to frequency and reach-related issues, but we later started to provide education through Radio Vishwas via an app and pen drives loaded with syllabus content," says the teacher.
Dr. Hari Vinayak Kulkarni, the Station Head of the Radio Vishwas 90.8 FM states that earlier, bringing smartphones or looking at them inside the school premises was considered wrong for children. But now, their education is taking place through smartphones. "But many kids from Marathi schools and Zila Parishad schools did not have any access to smartphones and apps for their education. So through Radio Vishwas, around 200 teachers recorded their lectures on a variety of subjects and they were broadcasted via radio. This benefited children from far-off and tribal areas. Over 50,000 students gained benefit from it," says Kulkarni.
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Ghanshyam Koli, another teacher, thanks the radio station for providing a platform for teachers to provide education. "We would like to thank Radio Vishwas that through their medium, we could take our educational lectures to the households of children. This also made their parents happy since their children were able to continue with their studies in spite of circumstances prevailing for a while. We teachers also feel happy," he says.
Radio Vishwas has won two awards in the eighth edition of the National Community Radio Awards instituted by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India. Its programme "Education for All" won the first prize in the "Sustainability Model Awards" category and the second prize in the "Thematic Awards" category in the covid-19 era.