New Delhi: In India – schools remain closed till today due to the pandemic. Its disadvantaged students, the worst hit, could lose out on an entire year of education and years of academic and extracurricular development.
Founders of Otermans Institute – Dev Aditya and Dr. Pauldy Otermans, in Devbhumi School Haridwar Uttarakhand teaching soft skills curriculum in 2019
To tackle this, Otermans Institute started a volunteer program called ‘Project OI Digital Training’ to provide training and teaching digitally to such disadvantaged and rural students across South Asia – mainly India, Nepal and Bangladesh. This was done by setting up a system and curriculum through which UK University students could train these disadvantaged students and learners digitally on soft skills and professional development skills during the pandemic.
Prior to the lockdown, Otermans Institute was already working in 5 states of India including with the government of Uttarakhand to deliver this training in their state schools and they built and designed the curriculum themselves. They believe that without soft skills and professional development training from school age, students will lose out in future employability and this can be an issue for more than 20 crore students in India and its neighboring countries.
Dev Aditya, the Managing Director of the Institute stated, “We started with students only from Brunel University London but it soon expanded to tens of Universities across the UK. We are grateful to all the volunteers coming from these institutions to provide us support to meet the demands of students in India and other parts of Asia.”
“It seems like people really want to continue giving back, even internationally, during the second lockdown in the UK. We are overwhelmed by it,” said Dr. Pauldy Otermans, Principal and Chair of Otermans Institute.
Previously, Otermans Institute had also launched a bite-sized lessons series they called ‘Lessons for humanity’ during the height of the lockdowns in India. These lessons were designed to teach soft skills by making learning interactive between family members. This was used by 20,000 people until July 2020 and it showed positive results on the mental health of learners. This aspect is now being researched in the UK for its usability in Western nations.