Amid the lockdown and the overall crisis in the country, the state of Kerala has been quite tactical in their handling of the pandemic. And now, the state is making sure that even children who don’t have access to the internet or smartphones get proper education.
According to PTI, the State Education Department of Kerala started online sessions named ‘First Bell’. Not only will these be available online, but it will also be telecast through VICTERS TV Channel for classes 1 to 12 from 8.30 AM to 5.30 PM on weekdays. This channel is available for free on cable networks, over the internet and direct-to-home all across the state.
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— S Anandan (@Anandans76) June 1, 2020
After a study conducted on students in the state’s government schools, it was noticed that more than 2.6 lakh students had no facilities for online classes. So, 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— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) June 2, 2020
He also mentioned that these centres will be provided with TVs at a subsidised 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.
On this note, Director of Public Instruction (DPI) K Jeevan Babu 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.
First Bell 🔔— Shilpa Sankar P (@ShilpaSankarP1) May 31, 2020
Even though it’s not ringing over around two lakh students from Kerala, it’s going to be a novel experience for both students and teachers. #Education#Kerala#KeralaModel pic.twitter.com/4R1gFZTmz4
The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) has setup time tables for these classes. The sessions are to be held from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm from Monday to Friday for all classes from 1 to 12, except class 11, on the channel.
The modules for different classes will be prepared by agencies under the General Education Department such as the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), KITE, Samagra Shiksha Kerala (SSK), and the State Institute of Educational Technology.
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.