A solution for online class challenges due to poor connectivity, lack of smart phones
Hanagodu: The online platform may be the only way to reach students during lockdown or during a pandemic, but the digital medium comes with its own challenges. While students in urban private schools have little trouble accessing the internet and attending online classes on platforms like Google Meet during the post-lockdown period, those little ones living in rural and remote areas do not have the same sort of facilities.
The situation is worse for those from remote, non-urban areas. Highlighting India’s digital divide, poor connectivity and lack of smart gadgets is proving a hassle for many students. When it comes to attending online classes for children, for people living in rural areas, problems are aplenty.
In low-income rural community, a household might not have a smart phone. Even if they have one, a single smart phone might have to be shared among its members. If there are three children in the house, all of them would be dependent on the same smart phone for their online classes. The most fundamental challenges faced by rural students are connectivity and bandwidth issues and, of course, the cost of affording one smart phone and internet expenses.
In an effort to tackle this issue, teachers of Lakshmanatheertha Vidyasamsthe in Hanagodu Hobli near Hunsur have voluntarily come forward to visit villages in their neighbourhood and conduct home tuitions for their students from Aug. 3.
From the last five months, Schools and Colleges have remained closed but in urban areas many Schools have started conducting online classes. Hanagodu is a remote village near Hunsur and is located on the fringes of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. Many students of Lakshmanatheertha Vidyasamsthe live in over 20 villages bordering forest area. Most of their parents are from low-income farming communities and are from tribal families that depend on forests for a living. While many of them cannot afford a mobile phone, bandwidth and connectivity is another issue here for conducting online classes.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Vidyasamsthe teacher Nataraj said, “Learning cannot stop even if Schools are closed. We thought why our students should miss this opportunity? Hence, after discussing with parents and villagers, our School Administration decided to make special arrangements. Our School teachers agreed to conduct tuitions so that our students living in surrounding villages would not miss their education during these tough times.”
They are now visiting each of those 20 villages according to schedule and are conducting classes for them from last Monday. Amid COVID-19 pandemic and rise in number of cases in the region, these School teachers including Nataraj are taking all necessary safety precautions such as maintaining social distancing while taking classes. And they have again proved that the old English proverb ‘where there is a will there is a way’ is true for those who have determination and dedication.