UNESCO International Literacy Day Celebrated at Unnati
UNESCO announced that the International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 will focus on the interplay between literacy and digital skills needed by adults and youth who are illiterate, and how literacy can contribute to that success.
The announcement was made today by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, during a visit to Malaysia, where the National Library of Malaysia is hosting the ILD Secretariat.
The International Literacy Day 2021 will be dedicated to literacy and information technology skills for digital life in order to contribute to global development objectives that are adopted at the UN General Assembly.
According to UNESCO, around 774 million adults worldwide are illiterate, with two-thirds of whom are women.
Illiteracy is a major barrier to development and empowerment for individuals, across all countries in the world which are still fighting against poverty.
It compromises their participation in education, learning opportunities, social life as well as access to basic rights and services.
The UNESCO stated that for adults, illiteracy is more than not knowing how to read or write or speak. Literacy is also the ability to understand different types of texts, use information technology, learn new skills and work productively.
The skill of digital literacy has become increasingly important in our fast-changing world, where much of our social and economic interactions take place online, and information is a key resource to access jobs.
What Does UNNATI Mean?
UNNATI means progress for all. Almost five years ago, a seed named ‘ UNNATI ‘ was sown by the three ladies (Ms. Anita Sharma, Ms. Nidhi Singhal, and Shreen Vardhan Sharma) in sector 41 Noida.
Since that day they have been working diligently to teach underprivileged children. They not only focus on curricular but also on co-curricular activities.
Even though COVID times did give them a setback but they have overcome every hurdle that came their way and started tutoring their students through WhatsApp.
Considering the overall development of the children, team UNNATI has celebrated every festival virtually and has also forwarded their students’ entries in various online competitions.
The students too had enthusiastically participated in them and also won prizes, cash prizes, e-certificates and above all gained a great experience which they would have missed if they would not have been attending these on-line classes.
Seeing their progress and performance some more ladies had also decided to contribute their valuable time in teaching them.
Ten of them are from Noida, Delhi, Alwar, Bihar (Ms. Nidhi Asthana, Ms. Akta Sehgal Malhotra, Ms. Sudha, Ms. Kanchan Hiranandani, Ms. Pratibha Sharma, Ms. Usha Vardhan Sharma, Ms. Aditi Srivastava, Ms. Karuna Madaan, Ms. Neetu Varshney, Ms. Nutan Bala), and one of them is from Australia( Megha Vardhan Sharma).
Every day the kids are learning something new from their teachers and not wasting their precious time and energy into doing something not so constructive.
Two students of UNNATI have been chosen as brand mascots of a popular virtual children’s show wherein they will get an opportunity to exchange their thoughts with other kids.
In addition to that, the mothers who had been providing education to their wards at UNNATI got felicitated on an online platform – Motherhood Club.
On this independence day, each and every student performed live in front of a virtual audience. They were experiencing something completely new.
Recently one of our students got an opportunity to express his thoughts on kiddomentoring talk show. He was appreciated for his confidence and presence of mind.
In short, UNNATI is aiming at transforming them into an asset for the nation, and through this initiative, it is sure to happen.
- Shreen Vardhan Sharma – Chief Education and Operation Officer
- Anita Sharma – Chairperson
- Nidhi Singhal – President
- Nidhi Asthana – Vice President and art teacher
- Megha Sharma – President
- Akta Sehgal – Chief Marketing and Finance
- Usha Vardhan Sharma- Editor in chief and teacher
- Kanchan Hiranandani – teacher
- Pratibha Sharma – teacher
- Karuna Madaan – teacher
- Aditi Srivastava – teacher
- Neetu Varshney – teacher
- Nutan Bala – art teacher
Education In Covid Times
This has been a challenging task as offline teaching is different from online teaching. the basic difference is that it is a one-to-many model where the teacher is talking to many students at once, whereas in online teaching, the teacher has to manage the same type of interaction but with all of them simultaneously participating.
- offline teaching is the student being present there physically at the place where he/she is taught while online education gives freedom to the students to learn from their comfort zones.
- another difference between these two types of teaching is that offline teaching involves a lot of social interaction, role-playing, and sharing of experiences but with online education, this cannot be done.
- offline education makes use of all the senses like seeing, touching feeling, etc., but online education only uses vision to learn which is not enough for learning.
- lastly, an important difference between these two types of teaching is that offline education has its own limitations but with online education, there are no limitations at all.
- For example, there are videos that are used in offline teaching but online education can use any type of material for learning.
However, the advantages to online education outweigh the disadvantages making it rapidly increasing in demand across the world.
The modern era has ushered in a lot of change in almost every sector, one sector which has been greatly affected is the education sector. The convenience of online learning is the reason why it has taken over offline teaching.
The advancements in technology have provided several facilities to students who are unable to join brick and mortar universities due to geographical reasons or for those who cannot afford expensive tuition.
Online universities provide excellent learning opportunities for these students which were previously unavailable to them.
Online education overcomes geographical boundaries making it accessible for everyone.
Another advantage is that students can learn according to their own schedules without being forced by any time constraint.
Additionally, it enables them to learn at their own pace, which is impossible in offline teaching scenarios.
However, this type of teaching does have its disadvantages as well as one major disadvantage. the disadvantage being that the student cannot ask questions to clarify doubts as there is no one there to answer them.
But this is solved by the use of various study materials which are available online for users free of cost.
The World Literacy Foundation (WLF) has called on world leaders, national agencies, and global organizations to place literacy at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda by ensuring multi-stakeholder involvement in the process.
This would be done through a high-level literacy task force to ensure global monitoring, evaluation, and accountability for progress towards reaching all 696 million illiterate adults worldwide
Technology advancement has opened up many opportunities for development in many sectors but it seems that the education sector has been left behind in this race.
This is because the educational system today focuses mainly on the four basic subjects which are Mathematics, English, Science, and Social Studies while ignoring other important aspects of learning.
The present education system focuses mainly on children’s academic success while encouraging them to learn for tests rather than educating them about how to learn.
In a study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it has been revealed that in countries like Finland and Japan, children’s academic success does not depend on the grades they get in school.
Students don’t have to worry about marks since their focus is more on learning instead of marks that are acquired effortlessly. However, in most countries, this is not the case, and marks become a priority.
According to a survey conducted by UNESCO, an estimated 57 million children of primary school age do not attend schools around the world while it has been predicted that more than 30 million children will drop out of schools due to poverty and lack of resources by 2015.
Problems Faced While Conducting Online Classes
The major problem is students who are shy in nature have a hard time while conducting online classes.
This is so because they do not express themselves easily and hence the teacher finds it difficult to teach them properly.
Another reason can be traced back to lack of interest shown by the student which might be due to interest in some other subject or just being lazy.
Students Not Able To Understand The Work Given
This is also a problem faced by the teachers while conducting online classes since there is no way for them to examine whether the student has completely understood the work or not.
This hinders their learning and hence they might end up making mistakes that can be avoided if proper attention was given at the beginning itself.
Students Not Willing To Take Up Online Classes
Additionally, teachers face this issue while conducting online classes. This is because many students are simply not ready for this system of learning and therefore have a tough time adjusting to this unconventional method of teaching since they have always been taught by teachers who taught them in classrooms.
Lack Of Interest
Another problem faced by the teacher while conducting online classes is that they need to keep the students interested in what they are learning for which it becomes necessary that they have proper knowledge, skill, and patience. This might be difficult especially when the student is not interested at all.
Lack Of Interaction Among Students
Another problem faced by the teacher while conducting online classes is that the student does not interact with other students which might be helping them in terms of getting better ideas and learning from other’s mistakes as well, which makes it difficult for the teacher to score this point in their favor. However, this is also true that it might be due to some other reason like shyness or fear of the unknown.
Lack Of Proper Equipment Required For Online Classes
The teacher conducting the class will need computers, projectors, keys boards and microphones which are very essential for them to conduct the class properly. However, this may not always be the case with all teachers which makes it difficult to continue with online classes.
Lack Of Time
Another problem faced by the teacher while conducting online classes is that since they are doing this in addition to their regular work, it becomes difficult for them to manage both things at the same time which hinders them from giving their best. This is so because they might be spending more time doing their regular job and less for online classes which again makes it difficult to score this point in their favor.
Lack Of Proper Training
The teacher who conducts the classes must have complete knowledge regarding the subject along with the skill of technical know-how which is very essential for conducting online classes. There may be instances in which this is not the case concerning all teachers which makes it difficult to score this point in their favor.
According to a study conducted by South Korean internet education portal Etoos, 91 percent of 1000 students from Korea’s top 500 universities said they prefer face-to-face classes to online ones.
Many of the students surveyed said that the lack of direct contact with teachers was a key reason for their preference, while 70 percent said they thought it difficult to express themselves well through writing or emails.
How Unnati Has Tackled The Obstacles That Came Our Way
Even though there are so many problems faced by the teachers while conducting online classes, Unnati has still taken up this initiative since of its importance in today’s world.
Through this one can learn more about the teaching of an individual rather than just studying.
This way it becomes easier for both the teachers and students to get more knowledge on a topic that is being taught by the teachers right from their homes which makes it more comfortable for both of them.
This also aids to lessen the number of students per teacher which further leads to effective learning and better understanding.
Unnati has many merits in conducting these classes with proper arrangements being made so that all the problems are solved effectively. The main aim is to provide a better place to learn and teach.
The problems that we faced while conducting these classes were mainly because of the lack of proper equipment required for conducting them effectively.
These include computers, projectors, microphones, etc. which are very important for a good online class as it makes things clear to the students as well as at ease for them as they have access to everything that is being shared with them by the teacher.
Apart from that, there were certain other problems faced regarding the lack of proper training required for a good online class which included shyness, fear of the unknown, etc.
However, we have taken care of all these problems and made arrangements in such a way so that these do not hinder us from giving our best in conducting online classes.
We have conducted the classes in such a way that all these problems are solved in an effective manner which helps us to achieve our aim of providing better learning and teaching environment.
What We Feel About The Way We Conduct Them
We are very much satisfied with the way we have conducted our online classes. We have learnt a lot through these classes, both as teachers and students which includes teaching techniques, group discussion skills to name a few.
These together have helped us learn more about teaching rather than studying for exams which helps in effective learning.
Being able to speak freely about the topic in our classes also helps to clear most of the doubts that students have concerning the topic which is being taught by them.
These are some major gains that one can achieve through these online classes.
Overall, this was a good initiative taken up by Unnati and it has helped us learn more about teaching rather than just studying. It has also made the teaching and learning environment better by providing an effective place to teach as well as learn.
What Benefits Do They Offer Compared To Traditional Modes Of Teaching
This is a new and effective way of teaching/learning which helps students to understand things better.
The main benefit that these online classes offer is the fact that they help to reduce the number of students per teacher, thus providing more time and comfort for both teachers as well as students.
They also provide an effective place to teach as well as learn. Apart from this, online classes can be taken up any time by students which makes it very flexible.
Our Future Plans
Unnati is happy to have taken this initiative for online education as it gives us more opportunities to learn about various techniques of teaching which is very useful for the students.
We are also aware that there are many problems faced by teachers while conducting online classes. However, with proper training and arrangements being made accordingly, we have been able to conduct them in a very effective manner.
This way we have achieved our aim of providing good quality learning and teaching environment to the students in a comfortable manner.
As for future plans, we are planning to conduct online classes regularly for various courses in order to improvise the existing infrastructure.
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