Around the world, schools in over 190 countries are closed to protect against the spread of Coronavirus, affecting the education of nearly 1.5 billion children.
With the imposition of lockdown, normal life has been thrown out of gear, affecting school-going children and their schedules. While virtual classrooms and online classes are back in focus, another non-traditional method, Home Schooling is being discussed vigorously, especially when homes have become learning centres.
In some parts of the world, it will be down to parents to keep their child’s education going as best they can. But digital technologies are increasingly being used to deliver lessons to children at home.
In this crisis, the government has come up with e-learning program. Many ed-tech firms have tried to leverage the occasion by offering free online classes or attractive discounts on e-learning modules. These measures have been met with overwhelming response by students with some startups witnessing as high as 25% uptick in e-learning. Remote learning seems a viable solution to students during this time as they offer convenient, on -the- go and affordable access to lessons. E-learning also comes as an interesting and interactive alternative as compared to classroom teaching.
Elets Technomedia and digitalLEARNING Magazine organized a webinar on “Crisis Management in the times of Covid 19 – Initiatives by Haryana to make students study at home” with Amneet P Kumar, Secretary, Department of School Education and Director General Secondary education, Government of Haryana. She shared her views over the steps Haryana govt is taking to ensure education for students.
During the webinar Amneet P Kumar said “We have around 20 lakh students in Haryana. Around 8 lakh books have been issued to students from the books bank. We also make sure that all these students up to 8th standard are being given mid-day meal. All the services provided to schools will be continuously provided to students even if they are at home.”
She emphasized on the usage of technology in admission and said Haryana is trying for 100 percent admissions through online this year.
Over digital education, she said “We have linked our lectures and classes with DD, D2H for students. There is a timetable for all the students. Once in a week, the timetable is shared and three times a day the sessions are being conducted on TV so that students can attend the class at the time convenient to them. The govt is trying to rope in other OTT platforms to provide study materials to students.”
For midday meal – Firstly, ration money for the students calculated and ration is being delivered to students. Secondly, the cooking money was calculated and distribution is being done to every child’s Aadhar based accounts. Dry ration is also being supplied to families of govt school students. The ration is being delivered at their homes, she added.
We understand that many govt students do not have access to the internet, laptops, smartphones, YouTube or such platforms to receive content. Therefore TV was one medium which we used to reach all the students. Now lakhs of students in the state are receiving online lectures three times a day, she added.
She also added, Earlier, children were wasting time watching other content on TV but now they are watching online lectures and coping up with their studies. This is the common feedback we got from parents since the lockdown started.
She hailed the role of technology in the education sector. A lot of credit goes to the Ministry of Broadcasting and Additional Chief Secretary Mahaveer Singh for broadcasting Education content on Doordarshan so that students can be connected through TV, she said.
There is an organization Pratham, they work with us extensively. We have a call centre and we take regular feedback from parents about their children. Teacher was nowhere in picture as all the content streaming on TV was prepared for students. So we asked teachers to contact students through WhatsApp to take feedback from them about the content. So now at the end of the day, we have a map of Haryana marked with colour codes displaying how many students attended the programme, she said.
We have been also monitoring, WhatsApp groups and call centres, so that quality of content must be given to students. Our teachers contributed around Rs 50 cr from their salaries for COVID relief fund, she added.