Five teachers teach over a microphone from the classroom; classes start at 10am
The coronavirus pandemic has shut schools and colleges across the country and online classes have become the new normal. However, not all students can afford a smartphone or even an internet connection. But this has not deterred teachers in Jharkhand's Dumka from educating students.
Shyam Kishore Singh, the headmaster of Upgraded Middle School in Bankathi village, has found a way to teach his 200-odd students amid the crisis. Several loudspeakers have been set up on trees and walls across the village. Students can attend the classes from different locations near the loudspeakers for 2 hours daily. These innovative classes have been going on since April 16.
Five teachers teach over a microphone from the classroom; classes start at 10am.
Videos show students attending classes sitting apart from each other - maintaining social distancing. Teachers instruct over the microphone about various subjects which students note down from wherever they are attending the class. A young student says the classes are easy to understand even though there is a communication barrier.
The students are impressed! Innovation is needed in these testing #COVID19 times as many students cannot afford a smartphone or an internet connection. pic.twitter.com/glIrizxTsQ— STELLA (@BrownKhaleesi) June 26, 2020
Mr Singh says out of 246 students, only 42 have smartphones at home. Thus online classes were not the best idea. On how do they address students' questions, he says, "The students can send us their queries from any mobile phone and we will address it the next day in class."
He also says that the idea behind teaching through loudspeakers was to provide education to every student irrespective of whether his family can afford a smartphone or not.
Dumka's Deputy Commissioner Rajeshwari B was all praise for the teachers' efforts to ensure no child is left behind when it comes to education.
"These innovative ways help the students a lot as well as the parents who are aware of what is being taught in school. This is a very welcome step," she said.
Online classes have been very difficult to afford for many students due to lack of smartphones or internet especially in rural areas.