KOZHIKODE: Disappointed with the meager time slots given to Sanskrit, Urdu, and Arabic in the state government's First Bell virtual learning program, teachers' organizations have launched online classes of their own which have become a huge hit among students and parents alike.
According to the teachers, these subjects were not allotted a time slot for students of several classes since June when virtual learning was introduced among students.
"No Sanskrit class has been allotted for the lower primary section till now. Even in the UP section, only a few classes were allotted for Sanskrit, hardly once a week," said Kerala Sanskrit Teachers' Federation (KSTF) state president Biju Kavil.
The move by the teachers to launch 'Rudra@School' and kstfedu.org has come as a relief to Sanskrit students.
"We didn't commence the online classes as an alternative to First Bell. However, the response to Sanskrit classes from upper primary and higher secondary students is overwhelming. Each class is of 15-30 minute duration," said Abhishek Narayanan, a Sanskrit teacher who along with Akshay Raj T, another Sanskrit teacher started 'Rudra@School', a YouTube channel which has close to 16,000 subscribers. According to Abhishek, Rudra is ahead of First Bell in covering portions.
Space for Urdu, Arabic
Similarly, Kerala Urdu Teachers' Association (KUTA) and Kerala Arabic Teachers' Federation (KATF) have started online classes under their various district wings, catering to thousands of students.
"There are 70,000 students in the state who study Urdu as first language from Class V to X. Not a single class was commenced for Class VI and VII since June, while only four Urdu classes were allotted for Class V," said KUTA state president Hussain M. Kannur and Palakkad district committees of KUTA started Urdu online classes which have been well received by the students.
However, he is quick to clarify that the chart preparations as per the official First Bell program is not possible in these classes. Members of KATF, who initiated online Arabic lessons through 'Alif Media', said no Arabic classes were taken for students in Class VI under the 'First Bell' program while only a few classes were taken for Class I to IV.
Almost all language teachers associations have started protests against the discrimination faced in the government's First Bell program. Meanwhile, KITE chief executive officer, K Anvar Sadath said there is a practical difficulty in finding time slots for every subject under the initiative.
"We are ensuring that no subject is neglected and classes for all are provided soon," he told TNIE.