Kerala

Massive effort to ensure access for all to online classes

Sponsored smartphones and free cable links for tribal children

Mini (name changed) is a Class 1 student at a single-teacher school at Adiparamabu, 15 km from Palode, in the district.

For the past two weeks, Mini has been catching up on the First Bell online classes for schoolchildren at her neighbours’ houses for there is neither TV nor a mobile phone in her own dwelling. With the rain here and frequent power supply disruptions deep inside the forest, her teacher Ancy N. feels the arrangement will not work for long.

Good at studies

Ancy, who lives at Mankayam, says Mini is good in studies, but like in the case of many tribal children, the shift to online classes has brought with it many challenges, the most pressing being lack of access to facilities.

Ancy says with the school too lacking such facilities, she will need to go to Mini’s house with downloaded content to teach her.

“In areas such as these where Internet connectivity or electricity supply is a problem, this seems to be the only alternative,” says Palode assistant educational officer (AEO) Sindhu J.

With the First Bell classes set to move on to the next phase from Monday, a massive mobilisation for arrangements is on at the ground level in the district.

Samagra Shiksha

In the Vithura and Peringamala areas, 17 students from tribal areas had been identified as lacking TV or mobile phones.

By Saturday, arrangements had been made for them to reach any of the 30 common centres, such as libraries or anganwadis or the like, identified for the telecast of the classes.

Ten TVs received on Friday were despatched to these centres by the Samagra Shiksha’s block resource centre.

In Nedumangad, arrangements have been made by the Samagra Shiksha for 60 students of the Meenangal tribal high school to access the classes at the common study centres. One aided school headmaster has purchased smart phones for two of his students who live in isolated areas and are unable to reach the centres, says block programme officer Sanal Kumar.

Smartphones are also being sponsored for students who live in makeshift houses without proper walls making it impossible for electricity connections to be provided to them.

While Samagra Shiksha, parent-teacher associations, teachers’ associations, district industries centre, and so on are providing TVs in many areas, cable connections are being provided for free by cable operators as also dish antennae.

Facilities arranged

Nedumangad AEO K. Siyad says facilities have been arranged at the Nedumangad block resource centre for anyone in need.

Arrangements made for students at the common centres will facilitate the centres’ transformation into cultural spaces in the long term, he says.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:13:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/massive-effort-to-ensure-access-for-all-to-online-classes/article31828263.ece

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