RANCHI: A teacher at a middle school in a remote village has started open-air classes under a tree for the students having no smartphones to attend online classes. In Dumka, another backward district of Jharkhand, children are being provided with learning modules by playing it on loudspeakers in their hamlets, while they remain inside their homes.
According to Principal of Upgraded Middle School Ekdary in Palamu, Nirmal Kumar Singh, they have been asked to organize online classes, but it was discovered that more than 70 per cent children did not have access to smartphones. Therefore, after discussion with colleagues in the school, it was decided to organize open-air classes maintaining social distancing.
“Online classes were started for the children through WhatsApp groups but it failed to bring results as most of the children did not had smartphones. Therefore, it was decided to go to the villages and organize open-air classes by maintaining social distancing,” said Nirmal Kumar. Taking it as a challenge, he convinced other teachers of his school and started taking open-air classes in different villages, Kumar added.
“Initially, children did not understand the concept, but gradually it gained momentum and they started attending the classes. All care of social distancing is being taken during these open-air classes which are organized two hours a day from 8-10 am,” said the teacher.
District Education Officer Upendra Kumar is also encouraging others to take such steps so that process of education continues among the children.
“Nirmal Kumar is really doing a commendable job and others should also learn from him as he and other teachers of his school have been covering a distance of 7-8 kilometers every day to impart education among the children. As most of the children do not have access to smartphones, we have also asked teachers to visit children’s homes physically and give them assignments,” said the District Education Officer. Teachers also visit them to clear their doubts and check whether the homework given has been completed, he added.
In Dumka, school administration under Sadar block at Khijuri has arranged loudspeakers to play the learning module prepared for them. Children, while remaining inside their homes, listen to the audio played on these speakers and take note.
“Schools are closed due to lockdown and children are being provided with learning modules through Whatsapp groups. However, most of the children do not have access to smartphones. Therefore, we decided to play it on loudspeakers in their hamlets. Now, children listen to the learning module and note it down,” said teacher Shyam Kishore Gandhi at Primary School Khijuri. Only 42 out of the total 246 children in the school have access to smartphones, he added.