RANCHI: Dumka, known for a number of initiatives taken by teachers for reaching out to their students during the lockdown, has come up with yet another innovative idea for making digital content available to the underprivileged children.
Tapan Kumar Das, a teacher at Mahua Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya under Jarmundi Block, besides holding regular ‘Mohalla’ classes, has also been holding special tutorials in the evening with the help of a projector so that the poor children, who don’t have access to smartphones and internet connections at their home, could have the access to the digital contents provided for the students through WhatsApp under Digi-Sath programme of the State Government.
Das connects a projector through his mobile phone and displays digital content on a screen placed before a group of students. He has been holding special classes for 267 children at five ‘tolas’ (localities) coming from four villages every alternate day while maintaining social distancing norms.
“After the lockdown, we had been holding ‘Mohalla’ classes but due to lack of smartphones at their homes, they were not able to understand the contents sent to them on WhatsApp properly. Therefore, I decided to purchase a projector for the sake of students through which I have been making all the contents available to them. In this, 10 volunteers, two from each tola have been assisting us in holding the special class,” said the teacher.
Being one of the most backward regions of the State, most of the students here do not have access to smartphone or internet connection at their home, therefore, it is the duty of the volunteer to make digital contents available to the children from time to time through their own mobile phones.
“They also assist users in making arrangements and managing the special audio-visual classes in their areas. Since it is not possible to operate the projector during day time, I have fixed the timing of 6-7 pm in the evening,” said Das. Each special class consists of 60 students of the nearby locality, he added.
Volunteers are also actively taking part in running the special class so that the not so privileged children do not miss out on a lesson.
“As we were sitting idle in the lockdown, we were told that Tapan Sir is looking for some volunteers to run special classes through audio-visual. We thought why not utilize the time for a social cause,” said Munna Bhandari, an Engineering Graduate in Civil Engineering, who has been stuck at his village in the lockdown since March this year. They assist Das in holding special classes as it requires expert hands to operate the projector, he added.
Bhandari further added children are also taking interest in this special class and learning things faster. Since they are available round the clock in the village, they are being approached by the children in case they have any doubt, he added.
The children are also happy to learn with the new technology. “Now, it has become easier for us to understand the subjects which earlier was difficult to understand earlier,” said Devlal Sharma, a class 8 student hailing from Sharma tola.
Other teachers also have praised Das for his innovative idea of teaching students. “Though Mohalla classes are being held by more than 500 schools in Dumka, Tapan Kumar Das has left all of us behind through his innovation. Not only teachers but students have also started praising him,” said National Spokesperson of All India Primary Teachers Federation Shyam Kishore Gandhi, who is a Principal at Bankathi Utkramit Madhya Vidyalaya in Dumka.
Interestingly, Gandhi was the first to introduce Mohalla class which is being followed by other schools in Dumka and other districts of Jharkhand.