Haryana Chief Minister and Education Minister Launch ‘Sampark Baithak’ mobile application
The Coronavirus crisis has suddenly upended lives across the world, with schools, colleges shut as a precautionary measure, affecting the education of millions of children, who are forced to sit at home. As a result, children are losing precious learning time. Global agencies such as WHO and UNICEF have asked schools and authorities to consider remote learning as an immediate step to ensure education. Responding to the crisis, Vineet Nayar, Chairman Sampark Foundation and Ex CEO of HCL Technologies has been working hard with a group of inspired AI developers, Educators, Child Phycologists, Game designers and Graphic Animators around the world to develop a platform that would ensure that the learning of 1 crore disadvantaged children in government schools does not stop despite Corona Virus.
This unique collaboration amongst 28 top-notch professionals working the nights in Noida, Sydney with core testing in Bangalore, led to development of Baithak with core investment of INR 10 Cr by Anupama and Vineet Nayar through their foundation. Baithak is one of India's largest “free” learning and development platform in Hindi for primary government school children making learning fun and interactive for children while at home.
This platform followed rapid development and testing process over just 5 weeks and was anchored by the core team at Sampark Innovation Lab. This platform is being rolled out across 6 states in India through collaboration with the state governments to ensure rapid deployment on the phones of 1 crore parents assisted by 200,000 trained teachers and over 76,000 School management committees.
Launching the application, Chief Minister of Haryana, Shri Manohar Lal Khattar, said on Twitter, ‘The 'Sampark Baithak' mobile app has launched by the Haryana government with the objective of providing home-based education to primary school children during lockdown. This app with 500 videos and audio of various concepts will also work offline.’
Ch. Kanwar Pal, Minster of Education, Haryana, said, “Sampark Baithak’ app will be helpful for students of grades 1-5. Using this app, children can learn easily through animation videos, poems, riddles. This app only requires one-time internet for downloading as it works offline as well.”
Vineet Nayar, Founder and Chairman, Sampark Foundation, said, “The parents who can afford are enrolling their children in online learning platforms. However, most parents of children studying in government schools can’t afford these private online platforms. Secondly, most of these platforms are in English and not in language of teaching in government schools. And third, most of the content on these online learning platforms is not mapped with the state curriculum and textbooks. We wish to ensure that every child gets an equal opportunity to continue their education during the coronavirus crisis.”
For children and parents, Baithak provides access to thousands of teaching-learning resources in Hindi including, Sampark Smart Shala animated video lessons, Rhymes, Stories, interactive and engaging games and classroom activities, worksheets, quizzes, all mapped to state textbooks, and developed in accordance with the states’ syllabus. This app allows users to download the content for free and view without the internet.
This is also a unique hub of crowdsourced classroom innovations and community creation that serves as a social platform to interact with teachers and ask questions for community members to solve. It is also a platform for teachers to learn from other teachers and add to the collective knowledge about classroom practices of the community.
The other unique feature of the platform is a tab where the state leadership interacts directly with the parents and teachers by posting circulars, schedules, guidelines, suggestions and interesting content. The state gets monthly insight on usage, contribution and views in each village, cluster, district to drive increase in leveraging the platform to reach more and more children sitting at home through their teachers.