A teacher in a government-aided school in a remote village in Murshidabad district has taken up the task to teach his students online during the summer break.
Explaining why, teacher Manoar Hossain at Rameshwarpur Purbapara Junior Basic School in Murshidabad's Beldanga said his students mostly come from poor homes and they fall out of touch with studies during the summer break.
Hossain's meticulously planned initiative has not left behind even kids whose families do not own a smartphone.
"I do not want them to lag behind," the teacher told The Telegraph.
A resident of the same village, he did his primary schooling at this school.
The school teaches 270 students from Classes I to IV. Students of Class IV have been involved in this exercise.
"There are 56 students in Class IV. On an average, 50 students attend the virtual classes every day. The others catch up with the lessons with help from their classmates," Hossain added.
Hossain and two of his colleagues — Jiabur Rahaman and Rozina Khatun — had conducted a survey among the families of these 56 students since April 21, before the summer vacation, to figure out which of the children had Internet-enabled smartphones at home. Those whose families did not own a smartphone were tagged along with someone who did.
For instance, Israfil Sheikh's family has a smartphone. But his friend Yunus Sheikh, who came second in class in the last exam, doesn't.
Hossain convinced the two boys and their families that Yunus would take online classes with Israfil at the latter's home during the summer break that started on May 2. The virtual classes began on May 3.
Hossain takes the first class at 10am and teaches English. Rahaman teaches Bengali and environmental science from noon. Khatun takes the 3pm maths class. The classes are likely to continue as long as the break does. The school is likely to open on June 5.
Asked why they chose only Class IV pupils, Hossain said he thought of including students of Class III as well. "But our survey showed most Class III students did not have a smartphone at home. So we dropped the idea," he said.
The school inspector of Sargachi circle, which covers this school, Amrita Biswas, congratulated the teachers. "It is a fantastic initiative. I am happy such teachers exist in our society," she said.