Govt school teachers walk the extra mile to make digital education accessible
Government schoolteachers in Jharkhand are playing a pivotal role to ensure children have daily access to digital education during the Covid-19 lockdown.
As smartphone accessibility problems prevail in the Jharkhand hinterlands, many school students do not have access to digital content sent by the state government and Jharkhand Council of Education Research and Training (JCERT), but schoolteachers are walking that extra mile to ensure education reaches every doorstep.
Teachers of Upgraded Middle School Dhatkidih in the Ghatshila division of East Singhbhum district have made Whatsapp groups to disseminate information. Five teachers of the school visit households every day to demonstrate the use of the digital links and e-learning content on smartphones, and call students at random to ensure they have watched the day’s lesson videos.
“Smartphones are a problem in rural areas. Around 30-40 percent of students do not have smartphones. Our teachers have visited families who could help neighbourhood children by sharing their smartphones. Most of the villagers know each other. Thus, there are many families who share their phones so that more than a child can access the lessons at the same time,” said Upgraded Middle School headmaster, Sajid Ahmed.
In Seraikela-Kharswan, Sandhya Pradhan, who is headmistress of Uchcha Vidyalaya, Adityapur New Colony, has sought special permission from the district administration to open her school for a couple of hours so that students of class IX and X could access the digital content at the school’s smart board.
“A smartphone is something that many students in government schools still dream of. So, I took permission to use the ICT (information and communication technology) from the district administration for two hours. We got an overwhelming response from students, especially girls,” said Pradhan who received a National Award last year on Teacher’s Day.
Pradhan said that the students ensured that they followed physical distancing and wore masks.
Both teachers of Primary School, Bhadudi, Ghatshila also visit students’ houses to share the content.
“Teachers visit various students, solve their problems and answer doubts. Most of the villagers believe that smartphones are for entertainment. In fact, they never thought that the gadget will be used for education. We have been counselling parents too,” said Arun Kumar Singh, headmaster of Primary School, Bhadudih.