Kerala rings in new school year with virtual First Bell

First day used for adapting to online and TV class sessions; some complain of net connectivity issues and absence of Victers channel on some cable and DTH networks

Published: 02nd June 2020 06:50 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2020 04:50 PM   |  A+A-

A group of students watching Victers channel at Rajaji Nagar in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday as the new academic year began online as well as on the TV channel

A group of students watching Victers channel at Rajaji Nagar in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday as the new academic year began online as well as on the TV channel | B P Deepu

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state on Monday ushered in the new academic year on a different note. Over 70 per cent of the students, from the safety of their homes, were initiated into virtual learning as the academic year started online in the midst of lockdown. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated ‘First Bell’, an online initiative to impart televised lessons through Victers Channel. The class-wise sessions under state syllabus were aired through KITE Victers Educational Channel under the General Education Department while the CBSE schools and colleges found independent mechanisms to engage students. The classes aired on television used various graphic elements that run along with the lecture to help students understand the topic.

“I have received positive feedback from students on the virtual classes when I visited some of them to deliver the books,” said Lower Primary School Cotton Hill headmaster K Buhari here. “The virtual classrooms gave a feeling to students that the academic year has begun after the summer vacation. But we do miss our students in the school.” Most schools have already formed WhatsApp groups involving all students in a particular class. The class teachers have a major role in engaging the students based on the contents delivered on a particular day. “Today, being the first day, everyone was in a mood to renew their friendship. We expect more discussions on syllabus in the coming days,” said Sheeja M, a class teacher in a CBSE school. 

The first day also saw parents complaining about poor internet connectivity and unavailability of Victers Channel in some of the Direct to Home connections. Chief Minister Pinarayi reminded the teachers and parents to ensure the participation of students in virtual classes. “Online learning is just a beginning and it is aimed at preparing students for the academic year,” he said in his message. 

Alternative arrangements
Education Minister C Raveendranath said alternative arrangements involving multiple agencies would be made to ensure that virtual classrooms reach every student. A survey by the General Education Department found that around two lakh students do not have access to the facilities. The class teacher has a major role in identifying such students and the head of the school will make alternative arrangements for screening the classes. The laptops, projectors and television sets available with KITES will be utilised for helping the students. 

KITE Victers Educational Channel will telecast classes for Classes 1 to 12 with the exception of Class 11. The sessions named as First Bell will be held from 8.30am to 5.30pm from Monday to Friday. The duration of the classes vary from 30 minutes to two hours. The class teachers will be in touch with students over social media or on phone to discuss the virtual classes on a regular basis. The channel is available on almost all cable and direct-to-home television networks. There will be re-telecast of each class and the sessions on channel will also be available on the KITE Victers website and its social media pages for downloading.

Jaleel returns as teacher after a break of 14 years
After a long gap of 14 years, Higher Education Minister K T Jaleel on Monday donned the role of a teacher by engaging an online class. The occasion was the inauguration of online classes for college students. Jaleel’s introductory session and his lecture on Renaissance were live streamed from the Online Resources Initiatives of Collegiate Education (ORICE) centre at the Government Sanskrit College here. Jaleel was a former associate professor of History at the PSMO(Pocker Sahib Memorial Orphanage) College, Tirurangadi, in Malappuram district.  The minister said efforts are on to improve the internet connectivity in the state to help students. The education department will explore the possibility of ensuring better interaction between teachers and students. However, he made it clear that online classes can never be a substitute for the traditional classroom.

I have received positive feedback from students on the virtual classes K Buhari, headmaster, LP School Cotton Hill


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