Editorial Team

A community-based initiative, ‘Aqriti: Back to School’ was launched as part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts of Qualcomm India Pvt. Ltd. (Qualcomm India), under the Qualcomm® Aqriti™ program being implemented at Hyderabad by United Way of Hyderabad (UWH), in partnership with Transform Schools, People For Action. The launch was conducted at the Lodha Community Centre in Hyderabad, Telangana. The objective behind the initiative is to facilitate the return of students to school following the pandemic-induced school closures. Team members from Transform Schools, United Way of Hyderabad, Qualcomm India along with students and community members were present at the launch.

The initiative aims to identify vulnerable students who are at risk of discontinuing their education owing to the pandemic, and to support their re-enrolment. The participating NGOs will undertake activities such as vulnerability mapping, bridge learning campaigns, community awareness, and family counselling to limit the learning losses incurred by students during school closure.

As a part of the initiative, 100 hours of learning content, focused on supporting the academic and socio-emotional needs of students, will be provided through printed workbooks, instructional videos, and socially distanced community classes conducted by trained Community Academic Volunteers (CAVs). The programme will also include co-scholastic activities for students in Grades 8 and 9, focusing on building resilience, emotional self-awareness, communication skills, digital literacy, and safety. The programme will be digitally accessible via Shikshalokam.

Shikshalokam is a platform for education leadership. It offers open-source technology, capabilities, and resources to a variety of ecosystem players including individuals, NGOs, and Governments. People For Action (Transform Schools)’s partnership with Shikshalokam will provide data on students participation, usage on a real-time basis and allow for assessment and quality assurance.

Commenting on the launch of “Aqriti: Back to School”, Shalini Prasad, Sr Dir, Human Resources, QUALCOMM India Private Limited, said, “Qualcomm India believes in the potential of STEM education to transform the lives of students. The last year and a half have been very challenging for students, especially those from underprivileged communities. Lack of access to digital infrastructure and other resources needed for digital education, has significantly widened the learning gap. We aim to bridge this learning divide, support students in their return to school, and ensure their continued learning through community-led outreach activities under the Aqriti: Back to School initiative.”

“Today, many children are unable to access learning or academic support and are consequently considering dropping out of school. I am inspired by the Aqriti: Back to School programme, as it promises the development of a community-led, child-focussed learning model at scale for digitally disconnected children. Our efforts in collaboration with Qualcomm India and United Way of Hyderabad will help us on the success that Transform Schools has had in impacting learning outcome in secondary education,” said Pankaj Vinayak Sharma, Executive Director, Transform Schools.

Girija Tulpule, Associate Vice President, United Way of Hyderabad, said, “One of the largest impacts of the pandemic has been felt in the education sector, especially in communities where digital infrastructure for learning was inadequate or absent. Through Aqriti: Back to School, we aim to bring students from marginalised communities back to school with grade-appropriate learning and skills.”

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