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A teacher uses Masoom's virtual classroom technology to teach his students during COVID-19.
Story: COVID-19 India

Masoom: Advancing Education for Young People in India

COVID-19 PROJECT OVERVIEW

In Mumbai, India, there are 150 night schools serving about 15,000 young people typically from extremely poor families. The majority of these 15- to 20-year-olds work in low-paid, unskilled jobs during the day to support their families and pursue education at night in the hopes of securing better jobs after graduation. 

Masoom is a nonprofit organization focused on transforming such night schools to create better opportunities for children and young adults in India. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Masoom is helping these learners continue their education online and stay on track to building a better future.

A students attends his virtual night school class during COVID-19.

In spite of the coronavirus and the challenging times, Masoom came in with a ray of hope to us with their online classes. We could utilize the lockdown period for learning , we would have wasted our time if the online classes were not there.

Rekha Bhalchandra, Universal Night High School

How it Helps

Founded in 2008 by Nikita Ketkar, Masoom partners with government-aided night schools to improve education outcomes for students in grades eight to 10 through a structured transformation program. Before the pandemic, Masoom enabled students to take courses at a classroom near their workplace. This included opportunities to address foundational learning gaps prior to the start of the academic year. During the global pandemic and resulting school closures, the nonprofit is collaborating with Avanti Learning Centres to facilitate smartphone-based online classes to help students continue working toward their goals.

Initially, Masoom piloted this resource for 10th grade students learning math. Because of positive feedback and high adoption levels, the team expanded its offerings to 10th grade courses in English, science, Marathi, and social studies. While this model is effectively engaging students who have access to a phone, Masoom is also working with partners to provide a phone for students who don’t have access.  

A Roadmap to Continued Impact

When it launched, Masoom worked with two schools serving 175 students. Now, the nonprofit supports more than 80 schools serving 8,000+ students. In addition to scaling its efforts, Masoom has improved attendance of enrolled young people from 34 percent in 2009 to 60 percent in 2020. The pass percentage of 10th graders increased from an average of 36 percent before Masoom’s intervention to 83 percent in 2020.  The team attributes this in part to the added infrastructure schools receive as well as student support and supervision from Masoom.

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, Masoom will continue to further refine content and teaching pedagogy while improving learning outcomes. The nonprofit is collaborating on these efforts with Pratham, an organization conducting teacher training sessions focused on enhancing students’ conceptual understanding. Additionally, Pratham’s focus on frequent assessments is vital to effectively measuring learning outcomes and understanding key foundational gaps.

Collaborating with Avanti Learning Centres, teachers at Masoom are refining their teaching pedagogy to be effective in the new smartphone-based, live classroom that is currently replacing the more traditional, formal environment. Teachers are encouraged to engage with students during class by conducting polls on topics ranging from curriculum to activities that the student pursues outside of school for fun. The Masoom team is keen to extend its offering to the rest of India to help other such disadvantaged children complete school and secure their future.

Foundation Project Lead

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