The Ravi J. Matthai Centre for Educational Innovation, IIMA, had implemented an online professional development program for Gujarat government school teachers in 2019. The platform and social media discussion forums used in this program were closed on January 10, 2020. However, when the Gujarat government started implementing its lockdown policies and it became clear that a national lockdown was only a matter of time, an online outreach program for teachers was initiated on March 21, 2020. The objective was to support the teachers during the remaining months of the 2019-20 academic year which was to end in early May 2020. Children had been asked not to attend schools, but the teachers were expected to come to school and remain in touch with their children. The schools officially shut on May 3, 2020 and the outreach activity ran up to this point of time. Weekly updates on the activities were provided to the teachers, the government and others associated with the activity. Our role was limited to guiding the teachers with possible ideas about reaching out to children—specially focusing on children without access to technology, providing online advice on activities proposed by the teachers, and serving as a clearing house for the activities reported (curating the best ideas and practices) and functioning as a platform for peer-sharing of developments and activities in the villages of Gujarat. The activity was entirely online; there were no field visits. The daily activities of running the platform, responding to the inputs, talking to a large number of teachers, and curating the ideas presented were carried out by a team of four research assistants (Avinash Bhandari, Megha Gajjar, Sanket Savaliya and Lekh Nakrani) under the guidance of Prof. Vijaya Sherry Chand, RJMCEI, IIMA (firstname.lastname@example.org). The means of communication were mainly social media and mobile telephones. The average daily active members ranged roughly from 30,000 to 40,000.
This report is based on the five weekly updates that were provided to the stakeholders. The updates had a text portion and some photographs. For ease of reading the text portions of all five updates are presented first, and the photographs are presented next. No attempt is made to analyze the initiative. The text of the updates has been retained so that readers can get an idea of the communication that happened every week.