Building Critical Links, One Rural Teacher at a Time

While India’s national economy booms, educational disparity between rural and urban areas remains a major issue of concern, specifically in terms of resources, infrastructure, and funding. Despite the Indian government’s attempts at ameliorating the problem through increased rural education funding and targeted programs such as the Mid-Day Meals Scheme, illiteracy levels in rural India remain alarmingly high.

Lifelines Education aims to address these educational disparities through an innovative marriage of technology and knowledge sharing between key actors in the educational system. The critical players in this program are rural teachers, who are connected to a network of educational experts through a phone-based academic support service. According to OneWorld South Asia, the program is currently under operation in the Monteswar Block in the Bardhaman district of West Bengal, where it is servicing a total of 13 panchayats, 164 villages, and 571 schools. As a result of the program, a total of 600 elementary school teachers are linked with educational experts through an interactive voice response system that functions through normal phone, the internet, or mobile phone. A more detailed description of the program follows, courtesy of ShareIdeas:

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