COVID-19 has brought about a drastic change in the lifestyle of all of us. With Schools and play-spaces being shut, children have lost all opportunity to play. Whereas children belonging to the middle class and affluent families have the necessary internet infrastructure to access learning – including physical education, children belonging to marginalized communities have no such amenities. The inequities between ‘haves and have-nots’ in recent times have just got starker.
To reduce these inequities in learning, Sportz Village Foundation has designed the country’s first offline program – ‘Race around India’ – to deliver remote (offline) learning to children, who do not have internet access, directly at their homes. Sportz Village Foundation has successfully rolled-out this program to keep marginalized children safe & healthy through a physical activity during the pandemic.
About the program
Sportz Village Foundation’s Race Around India program aims to get children, who lack access to internet infrastructure, to become physically active through a series of travel-themed (gamified) workbooks. The idea behind this gamification is to recreate the sense of fun and engagement children have when they learn through play and physical activity. And the learning is completely self-directed – without the support of a facilitator or an adult.
The program takes children through a simulated race across the country, where they compete as virtual teams to complete specified tasks (earlier than others) to win this race. Children are divided into different teams and get to ‘travel’ or ‘race’ through different cities in India even as they complete certain physical tasks and activities at their homes or communities. Each city or region lists down certain activities that the children must complete as a team before they can proceed further. At the same time, each city provides nuggets of information relevant to that city or region. The program not only gets children to be physically active but also helps improve their knowledge about our country. The gamification helps children to engage in and learn from these activities of their own accord.
The offline model also ensures that children irrespective of their social segment, age or gender be a part of the program. The workbooks have been translated into multiple local languages. The current module focusses on building key skills and fitness attributes to stay safe & healthy. The program also helps build their social-emotional and leadership skills. The organization also has plans to launch a learning module on Health Education through this tool shortly.
The Race Around India program has engaged 185 children belonging to 14 public schools in Chennai and 195 children belonging to 8 public schools in Bangalore. Based on its success, the program is now getting rolled out to thousands of children in different parts of the country.
Commenting on the Race Around India Program, Parminder Gill, Co-founder and Head Sportz Village Foundation, said that, “The Race Around India program has been primarily developed to address the inequities faced by disadvantaged children in learning. The program design ensures that children irrespective of class, age, gender and skill can participate, learn and stay healthy through play and physical activity.”