While the whole country is struggling with the Coronavirus pandemic, it is inspiring how the state of Kerala has been handling the pandemic. In another progressive step, the state has ensured that even the kids without access to the internet or smartphones get the proper education.
As per the PTI reports, Kerala’s State Education Department has started online sessions named ‘First Bell’. These sessions will not only be available online but also be telecast through VICTERS TV Channel. The classes will be available for classes 1 to 12 from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM on weekdays.
A spell of rain drenched #Kerala on June 1 morning as is customary, but with schools remaining closed, children stayed indoors, taking online classes instead. Some schools chose to kickstart the proceedings with a briefing on #COVID19 pandemic& the ways to protect oneself from it pic.twitter.com/oWVfjpDE6r
This channel is available for free on cable networks and also over the internet, and direct-to-home all across the state.
The study that was conducted on students in the state’s government schools found that more than 2.6 lakh students had no facilities for online classes.
To give every child equal access to education, Kerala’s CM announced that Neighbourhood Study Centres will be set up for students who do not even have access to a television, let alone smartphone or internet.
Yes that’s right: it is now being used by the Kerala Govt to provide instruction for the two & a half lakh children who cannot attend classes online, as they are now required to. But I worry about a digital divide in our schools; learning on TV offers a different experience. https://t.co/5QR4BXLtkw
He also mentioned that these centers will be provided with TVs at a subsidized cost. They will be set up like a classroom and be provided with a TV to air VICTERS channel and accommodate students while following social distancing norms.
Director of Public Instruction (DPI) K Jeevan Babu, also mentioned,
“We have entrusted the class teachers and school headmasters or principals to make sure that students have access to a television or a smart phone or a computer, and Internet for the classes. If not, they should find an alternative for the students to attend the online classes either in real time or later.”
The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) has set up time tables for these classes. Right now, the sessions will happen from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm from Monday to Friday on the channel.
For the first week at least 1.2 lakh laptops, over 7,000 projectors and nearly 4,545 televisions have already been readied for the students.
Around 45 lakh students in Kerala began attending these virtual classes on Monday.
At IFORHER, we are proud of the Kerala administration for taking up this progressive step. As there are many kids across the country, who couldn’t afford the internet or smartphones, we hope other states would also take inspiration from Kerala.