Samagra Shiksha Kerala’s learning centres brave pandemic, offer uninterrupted learning experience

672 ‘Prathibha Kendrams’ provide additional support to kids from economically backward families

Published: 07th September 2021 03:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th September 2021 03:59 AM   |  A+A-

A class in progress at theSamagra Shiksha Kerala’s Local Resource Centre at Vembayam in Thiruvananthapuram | Express

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As the government weighs the pros and cons of reopening of schools in the midst of the pandemic, the functioning of nearly 700 Local Resource Centres (LRCs) or ‘Prathibha Kendrams’ of Samagra Shiksha Kerala (SSK) across the state, where classroom-based instruction has been going on uninterrupted for the past many months, could be a model worth emulating.

SSK has been running LRCs  for the past many years to provide additional learning support to school children from socially and economically backward families. However, it was during the pandemic that the role of these centres became more crucial. Since October last year, classroom-based instruction has been going on in these centres for close to 15,000 students, in strict adherence to Covid protocol.

Sreeeja D, an Educational Volunteer (EV) and in-charge of the LRC at Cheeranikkara in Vembayam grama panchayat has been catering to the educational needs of children from the hilly areas of the panchyat as well as neighbouring remote villages. Her centre has around 65 children from classes I to IX who are enrolled in government schools nearby.

“From June last year, we were functioning solely as a digital learning centre for the classes being aired on KITE Victers. From November onwards, we have been conducting regular classes on working days from 10 am to 4 pm. Classes are conducted in batches so that not more than 10-12 students are present at the centre any given time,” Sreeja said.  EVs like Sreeja have a huge responsibility on their shoulders. While addressing the curricular and co-curricular needs of the children in their centre, they also have to ensure that Covid protocol is strictly followed. 

The LRC gets good backing from the SSK’s Cluster Resource Centres (CRCs) from where resource teachers and specialist teachers are deployed. “LRC gives children the much needed break from the months-long confinement within the four walls of their home. The children are told that even if one person tests positive for Covid, the entire centre will have to be shut down. Since they value the activities at the centre so much, they ensure that Covid protocol is strictly followed,” says Aishwarya R S, who manages the LRC at Kottur in Thiruvananthapuram. 

Since the centres have children from Classes 1 to IX, the senior students also supervise the younger ones and make sure they maintain social distancing, wear masks and sanitise their hands regularly. Not a single case of  Covid has been reported from the LRCs till date. “Besides the 672 LRCs, SSK also runs 47 centres called ‘Ooru Vidya Kendram’ in remote, tribal settlements of the state. Since the children actively interact with their peers and teachers, the centres also play a key role in addressing their socio-behavioural issues,” said C Radhakrishnan, State Programme Officer (Innovations), SSK.


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