PALAKKAD: Tribal students living in remote hamlets who used to climb on trees and pitch tents on top of their houses to attend online classes to get connectivity on their smartphones can now attend sessions in their own Irula language. These will be telecast through a local cable television channel which would enable more students to attend classes without interruption.
Many tribal students in the 196 tribal settlements (oorus) are not able to attend online classes as they do not get signals on their mobile phones.
“When the schools reopened in online mode in June this year, social worker Uma Preman, who runs the A P J Abdul Kalam International Tribal Residential School in Attappadi for up to fourth standard students, raised the lack of mobile connectivity with me. I told her that I had a local TV channel which had to be shut down a decade ago due to financial problems. Had it not folded up, the classes could have been telecast. Uma then asked me why not relaunch the channel and that she would support it with digital content. It is in this background that I launched Attappadi Television Channel (ATV),” said the managing director of the channel Basil P Das.
“Our role is to provide digital content to the students. We are in the process of telecasting digital classes in Tamil which are available till 10th standard and in Irula up to fourth standard,” said Uma Preman. “We propose to launch the channel on October 6. Initially, we plan to provide class sessions in Tamil till Class 7 students and in Irula language up to Class 4. Since 120 of the 196 tribal settlements in Attappadi have cable connection, the tribal students need not depend on mobile connectivity,” said Basil.
He said that tribals are not used to reading newspapers or listening to news. “We plan to offer one bulletin at least covering important international, national and state news twice a day — in the morning and evening — in Irula. That way, the tribal community will be aware of the happenings around them. There will also be local news in Malayalam.”