While private and government schools in urban areas have switched to online teaching amid the lockdown, students in rural areas are suffering due to poor internet connectivity, unavailability of smartphones, computers and laptops, besides exhaustion of data pack and wi-fi plans.
To address these problems and make recorded lectures of all classes available online, the state education department has decided to reach out to these students through a radio app.
For this, the authorities have tied up with the radio channel, Chann Pardesi, and a two-hour programme will be aired from 1 pm to 3 pm for students of all classes from Tuesday.
To listen to the programme, students can download the app from the Play Store of their android and iPhones. However, this initiative by the department will not prove helpful to the students, who do not have smartphones and wi-fi connection, so there was a need to come up with other options as well.
Government school teachers are also sending small recorded videos to students on WhatsApp groups so that they can easily watch them and understand the concepts.
The state education department has also come up with an Iscuela mobile app to cater to learning needs of government school students. All the content such as e-books, videos, and class-wise YouTube playlists are available for the students on this app.
A government school student, Ramandeep Kaur, said, “To attend online classes through zoom app, I face many challenges as several times, the voice is not clear and the data pack also gets exhausted in limited time. To clear my doubts, I call my subject teachers. A lecture through television or a local radio channel can be helpful as a majority of students have these gadgets and can easily continue with their studies.”
To resolve the data challenges faced by the students in a rural area, experts of the Kaligidhar Trust have also come up with three modules — live video sessions through apps like Google Duo, Zoom and Seesaw, dividing and disseminating lectures into small video files and voice messages on WhatsApp not to exhaust much data and one-to-one interactive sessions over the telephone for clearing doubts.
In Ludhiana, the Trust runs five schools with a strength of 2,754 students. President of the trust Baba Iqbal Singh said, “To resolve the problems of students, we have developed a methodology to deliver quality education during the lockdown through three modules.”
He said, “Teachers clip their lectures into small video files so that less download time is consumed and files can easily be sent on email or Whatsapp/Seesaw.”
The trust chief added, “To manage the problems of limited internet usage and server, the schools have advised all the teachers not to conduct virtual classes with a dozen or more students, because when the number of users in a single video-conferencing room increases, the quality of internet connection gets hampered.”
“For students, whose parents do not have either a smartphone or a computer, classes are conducted over the phone,” said Harcharan Kaur, principal of the Akal Academy Jandiali.