What is Pathshala: It’s a socio-technological solution to reduce dropout rates in poor schools in India. It’s a mobile application targeting middle-class smartphone users to either donate their time (volunteering) or school supplies (materials) for poor schools where dropout is high. Schools supplies could include a) teaching material b) furniture’s for schools c) stationary d) equipment’s for schools including computer e) Health kits (including sanitary pads, soaps and sanitation facilities) and any other items listed by the school.Donors who want to donate their time can volunteer as teachers. Any kind of donor becomes part of a community platform called dochange on Pathshala to share their donor experience (material or time).
How Pathshala works ( For school): For schools the app represents a place where donors can be connected to them, and where they can post their needs. Schools can ask for material resources which amounts to a total of USD 1000 (approx. value) a month.To register on the Pathshala mobile application (hereafter app), schools are asked to upload three key documents: a) Bank statements b) Registration documents c) Address proof. Then each school listed on the Pathshala app would be verified on it’s a) operation, b) number of registered pupils and d) its need Donor’s gifts would be given priority in the following order: Primary schools (up to 5th class),middle schools up to 8th class), Higher Secondary schools ( 10-12th class). The idea of Pathshala is to support the schools in very poor condition and struggling with basic support.
How Pathshala works ( For donor): For donors, the app offers a new community to be part of and to give support to the school in need listed on the Pathshala app. The needs of the school will be listed on the app, and donors can choose which need to address at any school. If it is a material need, the donor can buy it with Pathshala online shopping partners (which would also include local suppliers). The school address would be provided with the school’s profile. Sending money will not be possible, and this is to zero down any misuse of money and other financial related obligations. This support can only be voluntary support, no tax benefits for the support will be provided.Donors who want to provide human resources such as teaching other human resource, they can register as volunteer. Incentives for donors would be: It’s a good feeling. It creates a smile. It’s a lifestyle. It strengthen the culture and values of India. Each donor would receive a certificate, designed by the school with some of the students and teachers signatures.It could be a simple painting. The certificate made by the school would be sent to Pathshala team which would frame it, pack it nicely and send it to the donor.It’s not just about supporting the school; it’s about sustaining schools in India and making more children attend schools. Also donors would have option to join the dochange community on Pathshala app where donors could share their feeling about donation with other donors and more donations would rate them as silver (beginner) , gold ( moderate) and platinum ( high) level donors.This will encourage for more donations and would also reduce the stress of donors community.
What would be the impact of Pathshala in next 5 years: In the next five years, Pathshala hopes to reduce the drop-out rates from 50% to 5% in about 1000 schools (with about 300,000 students). This through the support of 50000 donors from India and different parts of the world. Pathshala would expand to other countries with the localized name.
What makes Pathshala important and different: To our knowledge no service like Patshala exists which is designed to truly provide human and material support to poor schools. This app is designed to be culturally relevant to its place of application, taking into account place-baced incentives and issues such as resource corruption. Moreover anyone from any part of the world could donate on this app.
We want to address the issue of schools not being able to function as a school, because of lack of school supplies (including teaching materials) issues.
But why Pathshala: As per UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) more than 263 million children around the world are out of school. In India alone more than 32 million children are out of school (Census 2011). In some of the Asian countries (eg. India, Bangladesh) the issue hits at the infrastructure level, where schools are unable to function due to lack of equipment, built infrastructure. This deepes the problem of children out of school. In India, there are more than 1.5 million schools and nearly 75% of schools lack basic facilities.
How the idea of Pathshala emerged-Entrepreneurial journey: Three master degree students Vinod (Indian), Ita (Malaysia) and Yingfei (China) from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore had a different life and professional experience in India, Malaysia, and China. One point in common brought them together , ll three had seen challenges, although different, with children attending school. Open-17 a global competition brought Vinod, Ita and Yingfei, together to work on SDG-4-Quality Education. Collecting data on schools in Asia and hearing each other’s story brought attention on the Indian (Vinod’s’) story. The school he attended at his initial childhood had hardly anything to sit and any board for the teacher to teach. his pushed him to dropout from the school for about a year. Three of them decided to work on Indian context and empowering schools through school supplies by connecting with increasing middle-class donors in India. And that’s how Pathshala has emerged!
More on Pathshala: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oywwPCSgV4E
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