Raipur: Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, online classes began in Chhattisgarh through the ‘Padhai Tunhar Dwar’ (education at your doorstep) portal. However, forty-three thousand students in the state do not possess either mobile phones or uninterrupted internet connectivity and are hence not able to study in these online classes. Taking this into account, the education department has started preparations at the Panchayat level for nine ways of conducting classes besides mobile phones. The methods employed in areas with Naxal presence such as Bastar and Sarguja, where there is no internet connectivity, will be implemented in Raigarh as well. A proposal has been sent to the Collector for approval.
Taking into account the pandemic, classes in Chattisgarh will now take place through loudspeakers. The Education Minister Doctor Premsai Singh Tekam has given orders for this plan to be implemented within one week in at least one school in each block across all districts, with the available resources. From his home office, Dr Tekam conducted discussions over a video conference with all the officers involved with the execution of this plan in Bastar district. Tekam said that classes have begun to be conducted over loudspeakers in 56 blocks in Bastar district. For the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, this model will ensure the continuation of education. This is an alternative arrangement to online education.
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After the lockdown, the school education department in Chhattisgarh quickly came into action. Besides online classes, teachers have designed and executed various offline models for education as well. The Education Department is grateful to the teachers who continued to conduct online classes from their homes without disruption. Besides this, many teachers also successfully tested different offline models. Nearly ten such models have been implemented in the state through teachers.
One of these models is that of the loudspeaker school, which began in the Bastar district, was studied by the Education minister. He discussed this model at length with those who were responsible for executing it in Bastar over video conference calls and found it to be perfectly suited for the Coronavirus lockdown. In this model, through the Panchayat, loudspeakers available in the village or acquired with the help of DJs are made available for children’s classes. The teacher conducts the class through the loudspeaker, and the students can listen attentively to the lesson either from their own homes or while sitting in small groups. These classes begin with the state anthem.
The students are also assigned homework over the loudspeaker and the teachers go in pairs around the village to check on students’ work. With this arrangement, the entire village gets to know that regular classes are going on. The Education minister Dr. Premsai Singh Tekam is overwhelmed by this innovation by the teachers of Bastar. He has appealed to all districts to begin this plan in at least one school in each block using available resources within the next one week, and accordingly arrange for teachers and volunteers who are interested in implementing this plan. He also appealed to all parents to comply with all standard safety measures and provide their cooperation to ensure that students can continue their classes through loudspeaker schools.
The article was first published in Janchowk. It is translated in English by Damayanti Saha.