While online classes are the new normal for urban students, teachers in a remote Bengal village have found a way around technology to help underprivileged tribal students continue their education in their native Alchiki language; even if that means holding classes under the scorching sun.
With the lockdown stretching over two months, usual classes are not held in Jangalmahal schools of West Midnapore. Responding to state education minister Partha Chatterjee’s appeal, teachers have started taking classes in Alchiki for tribal students, many of whom are first generation learners in their families.
At Radhamohanpur Adivasi Primary School in Salboni, teac-hers are downloading tasks from the state government portal, Banglar Shiksha. Teachers Tanmoy Singh, Namrata Kha, Ashim Dolai and Nirmal Mandi are holding classes three days a week.
Tanmoy, who is also the local teachers’ body president, said the field classes began on Sunday. “Teachers of different subjects have come forward to help students. To follow social distancing norms, classes are being held in a field. Students are asked to bring mats or a piece of cloth to sit on,” he said.
The school has 54 students, of whom 36 are now attending classes. All of them hail from peasant families; 22 are from Bhaglusol and 14 from Radhamohanpur. Eight each study in classes I and II, 11 in Class III and nine in Class IV. Apart from Alchiki as a subject, besides Bengali and English, they are being taught mathematics in Alchiki.
A teacher said it was imperative to find a way around virtual lessons because with schools closed, many of these children who had no access to technology were gradually forgetting what they had learnt in the past.
“On the first day, students came for our field classes wearing school uniforms. We told them the school was not reopening. We were just going to give them tasks, so that they could continue studies,” Tanmay added.
Source: Times of India