Telangana begins online classes, poor students hit
Lockdown triggered by pandemic has not just left school education indisarray but also made it costly and out of reach for the children from poor families
Ranga Reddy: Nearly thousands of children from poor families studying in government and municipal schools in the Ranga Reddy district, Hyderabad and many other parts of the State are staring at disruptions in their studies without access to mobiles, internet and laptops or desktops, even as privileged students from private schools are taking online classes amid the corona pandemic. The State government has announced that the online classes from class 1 to postgraduate level will commence from July 1.
School students, especially those who study in government institutions, are one of the worst hit sections of our society by Covid-19. The lockdown triggered by the pandemic has not just left school education haywire, but also made it costly and out of reach of children from poorer families. The kids who study in government schools are likely to suffer in many ways due to the emerging situation.
Poor and middle-class parents already hit by income loss have been forced to cough up extra money on their kids' smartphones, tabs, laptops etc.., on the other hand, kids from these families are unable to catch up with the online classes. As per an interesting survey carried out by the Telangana State United Teachers' Federation (TSUTF), around 70% school students have said that they cannot comprehend lessons online, while 40% families don't have either smart phones or tabs. Only 22% families have extra smart phones to be spared for their child.
A major reason for poor efficiency of online classes is lack of concentration power of students in lower classes and not so great technical quality of apps that connect teachers and students either audio or video are of poor quality with frequent interruptions in internet connectivity. During the last academic year, the educational department taught digital classes from class 3-10 where thousands of students did not receive the right tools or instructions.
However, the teachers themselves took the initiative to send students to the nearest TV or mobile facility to listen to the classes. According to the educational department, there were a total of 2,68,949 students in classes 3-10 in Ranga Reddy district, Hyderabad and other places during last academic year. In Ranga Reddy district alone, 44,723 students had mobile phones but could not attend the online classes due to lack of internet connection.