Sandrine Faust

Ashoka Fellow
Canada,
Fellow Since 2010

Citation

This profile was prepared when Sandrine Faust was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Sandrine has created a powerful solution that helps kids stay in school and increases their confidence levels by providing children, parents, and teachers with the pedagogical support they need. As a teacher and the daughter of educators, Sandrine knew that to democratize education in Canada she would have to address three closely linked issues: The lack of incentive and support structures for children and youth to understand the value of education; many parents lack of confidence or preparedness to help their children with their homework; and low morale among teachers.

Sandrine therefore set out to create an online platform that gives children 24-hour access to educators—including 50 teachers, their peers, and parents—who make themselves available to answer homework questions. Entering her website is, in essence, the equivalent of dialing 911 to get “emergency” support for homework. The teachers engaged in this initiative are active school teachers—this ensures their full awareness of the curriculum and also allows them to anticipate the types of difficulties faced by students. Moreover, because all questions can be answered by anyone in the online fora, Sandrine’s platform also turns students into peer educators. This reversal of roles not only boosts their confidence and teaches them new skills, it also helps to test and master their knowledge, while increasing the pool of “service providers.” All questions answered by students are reviewed and approved or edited by trained teachers. Parents also participate both by answering children’s questions and receiving advice from the vibrant network of parents that participate on the platform.

Because many low-income students do not have access to a computer or the Internet at home, Sandrine installed interactive terminals in afterschool programs, libraries, and low-income housing to render universal access to her services. By creating and promoting a free, accessible, anonymous, and interactive system to assist students with their studies, Sandrine is preventing many students from dropping out of school. Her goal is to reach all students who need assistance, beginning with the province of Quebec. Sandrine’s initiative is already being replicated in Ontario.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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