KOCHI: Remember the primary school teacher who captured many hearts teaching her students the tales of Mittuppoocha? Despite many claps and criticisms, the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) completed one year of successful online teaching through the Victers channel and other online platforms for state syllabus students on Friday.
For K Anvar Sadath, KITE CEO, who planned for two months of classes on the digital platform when the pandemic first broke out, the extension of lockdown meant working with his team on a war footing to mobilise resources and serve the kids the best. “In 2020 March, when the exams were postponed and teachers stopped coming to schools, we started a programme to engage them through Samagra portal.
That is how it all started. When the country went into complete lockdown, we started a programme titled ‘Happy Vacation Time’ for the children. This was followed by ‘Tree of Letters’ in April where students could showcase their creativity,” the CEO says.
Test dose started in May All this time, the department was under the impression that the situation would improve and classes could resume in June. In May, nearly 50,000 teachers started collaborating with Victers channel, even over YouTube. This was the ‘test dose’, says Sadath.
“By May 21, it was confirmed that physical classes would be impossible and we had to churn out everything in under two weeks. The greatest challenge was ensuring all students access to technology. Incidents including the suicide of a student who couldn’t afford a television at home were quite saddening. “At that time, many organisations — political, religious and NGOs, even cultural organisations from abroad — started donating funds and gadgets like televisions, laptops, and smartphones. By the end of September, our classes reached 100 per cent of the state syllabus students,” claims the KITE CEO.
MENTAL HEALTH ALSO A CONCERN
KITE Victers also started telecasting an hour-long live phone-in programme on mental wellbeing in association with the Women and Child Welfare Department, availing the service of expert doctors.
Many parents are thankful for the facility, that ensured their children didn’t lose time in the light of the pandemic.
“Even if the child miss one class, they have to update themselves through other online platforms that air deferred lessons. Parents also have to ensure that their children are attending lessons consistently,” said Kumari Jasmin, whose son is studying in Nellimoodu New Higher Secondary School.
Suma D L, the parent of Class VII student Gopika and Class V student Govind, suggested it would be better if teachers provide English subject answer keys along with the questionnaires. “Educated parents would be able to guide the children better with the online classes, but others may need more support from the teachers, especially in teaching English,” said Suma.