In a unique attempt to reach out to students from different corners of the state, the Kerala government has allowed online classes for government school students to commence from September 1, 2020, on digital/TV/T-SAT platforms. These classes would be an integral part of the e-Learning and distance education program by the government. However, it is mandatory for the teachers to attend the schools from August 27.
As the class medium is going to be online for the first time, the teachers are expected to prepare e-content, lesson plans, and other materials to facilitate the reopening of schools. The regular online classes have begun with complete compliance with the regulations issued by the Government of India. However, the schools continue to remain physically closed for the students. The Council of Ministers had a meeting to approve the beginning of admissions and to start online classes of all school students through television and digital platforms.
The Government of Telangana started online sessions for government school students from classes 3 to 10. These classes are available on state-run TSAT channels and Doordarshan. TSAT is a satellite network that can be accessed through cable TV networks and digital media platforms like YouTube. The state government says that 16,43,309 government school students between the classes of 3-10 could attend the online classes. The special chief secretary (Education) Chitra Ramachandran noted that some issues need to be addressed, but overall, he is overwhelmed with the response.
Struggle of access
Due to poor internet connectivity and power cuts in many areas, there is a large section of students who could not attend online classes. According to Sri Devasena, commissioner and director of School Education, Telangana, about 1,01,595 students could not attend the online class due to internet or electricity restrictions. However, the attendance of 14,03,714 students has been much more than the expectation.
The maximum number of students who could not attend the classes, around 9,980, was from Bhadradri Kothagudem. Next is Mahabubabad district, with 7,000 students who do not have access to any kind of technology. About 150 tribal students of Amrabad Mandal also missed these classes. The Telangana government has been working on this since April, and about 1.3 lakh school teachers are on duty to look over online conduct. 15,000 village volunteers are also a part of the project, and they are striving to make situations better for all.
What the Policy Times thinks?
- While this is an excellent approach to make the lessons available on TV, it is not very feasible for villages with irregular electricity.
- The state government schools need to strengthen their infrastructure even more to imply such methodology and expect the students’ full attendance.
- Social media is full of arguments between people who support online classes or not. The common question is, how hard can it be to push the classes to 6 months later due to a global pandemic?