Zaya: Bringing World Class Education to Every Neighborhood

Education in most underdeveloped and developing countries like India, Indonesia, Mongolia is generally not associated with innovation. It is mostly imparted in traditional ways and is plagued by student and teacher absence, lack of teacher training and 

professional development, large class sizes, lack of basic resources and language illiteracy. A large number of children of these countries don’t even have access to education, even though primary education is a declared fundamental right. Several of them drop out just after receiving primary education and half of the world’s illiterate population is a part of such underdeveloped or developing countries.

Keeping such situations across the world in mind, Zaya was formed. It is a social enterprise that seeks to develop an all-encompassing education learning solution using adaptive software, assessment, curated content, and training to bridge the learning gap that exists in the education system of underdeveloped or developed economies. Zaya aspires to bring world-class education to every neighborhood and revolutionize education by creating a network of learning labs which offer personalized education for every uneducated child by leveraging technology and facilitators.

Zaya’s strategy is to approach education through children’s perspectives and understand what they want to learn and their learning needs. It doesn’t consider technology to be the ultimate solution to issues in education, but believes that it can be leveraged properly to solve them. It focuses on adopting a flexible approach to the use of technology for educating children in different situations. It has appointed a number of volunteers and set up pilot projects to adapt its model to orphanages and schools and provide them with all the resources they need for quality education.

Zaya provides quality supplemental education to children in the age group of 6-13 years, with its after-school learning labs. Every Zaya Learning Lab is powered by personalized blended learning approach aiming to bridge the achievement gap for primary education. This model of blended learning enables Zaya to work anywhere in the world irrespective of the income group, focusing primarily on the children who are most deprived of education. Zaya believes that it is the right of every child to receive quality education,

anyone can take the duty of being an educator if he has the right facilitation skills and training and also that learning can take place anywhere.

Zaya has two products namely, Class Clouds and Blended Learning. Class Clouds is an education micro-cloud which brings online educational resources from local and global education initiatives like Khan Academy and CK12 to remote classrooms in rural and urban areas. Using Class Clouds along with the cloud based knowledge-management platform, Zaya collaborates with teachers to structure, create and deliver content to fit the local curriculum. Features of Class Clouds are as follows:

Is a cloud-based mobile wireless toolkit with a learning system that can run online or offline.

It allows users to connect the Zaya Cloud servers with their mobiles, tablets, laptops or desktops.

The LMS running on Class Clouds can be updated locally even without Internet connectivity and syncs up to the cloud regularly.

It can provide access to schools and learning centers located anywhere across the world.

It keeps the user data synced to its cloud and it can never be lost even in the case of system failure.

It provides 2TB local cloud storage with plug-and-play features.

It has a built-in wireless router and an intelligent analytics engine.

Provides a lightweight LMS known as ZAYA learning and thousands of free education content and books with the ability to push and pull new content.

The other product or approach is Blended Learning that enables students to learn in a variety of formats and environments. Students and teachers are exposed to all environments timely and students are allowed to spend more time in the environment in which they perform best. It enables:

Personalized learning in which students learn using individual devices and interact with the LMS. Students are delivered personalized learning through resources like Khan Academy, CK12, Pearson and more.

Larger group instructions by which a teacher and many students learn a concept together. Lessons complying with the local curriculum are delivered in an interactive way using projectors and tablets, and are rich in multimedia content.

Independent practice and homework so that students work independently with workbooks and facilitators can be their guides.

In addition to education efforts, Zaya partners with other social enterprises, NGOs, or volunteer networks seeking to reach rural, underserved areas. Its lightweight, mobile, and battery-operated platform can deliver content with or without an Internet connection, solving many of the infrastructure issues that organizations face in working in these areas. The platform can host a variety of content, from videos to e-books.

Zaya has partnered with organizations in Mongolia, South Africa, and India on topics from education to healthcare to vocational skills. It has forged a partnership with Teach for India and now has seven Zaya pilot labs (6 in Mumbai and 1 in Pune). It has also won several awards including the Global Education Award (2011), NASSCOM Social Innovation Award (2012) and Echoing Green fellowship (2013).

Zaya wants to enable a much wider pool of people and spaces to participate in the education economy. Though it has begun its mission at afterschool education, it believes that all education can be democratized in this fashion with small semi-formal groups forming and teaching each other at the neighborhood level. Share your views about Zaya or seek clarifications about the same. The Comment Box awaits you.

About the Author
Author: Saomya Saxena
Educational technology blogger, loves to research and write about tools and tips for educators on how to integrate technology into everyday instruction creatively and effectively. Fond of reading and writing.

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