Chinmoyi Kar, an intern from Chitrakonda village in Swabhiman area, crosses the Gurupriya Bridge to reach his students and travels 15 km every day. Occasionally he rides a bicycle or takes a lift from motorcyclists to cross the dense jungle to the village of Janbai where about 20 students from two batches wait for him.
“These students have not been to school for months and have forgotten what they learned before the epidemic. They didn’t have a smartphone or TV to go to online classes. I had to start from the beginning. Initially they were difficult to place. I started playing with them to get them ready to study, ”Carr said. He said that even though they are uneducated, the parents of these indigenous children want their children to learn.
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Jagadish Harijan, another intern at DIET-Bhabanipatna, started classes at 30.30 am and taught three batches of students by 11 am. Govardhanpur, a hilly village in the Lanjigarh block of Kalhandi district, is an inland village where roads are weak and internet is almost non-existent. “Belonging to poor families, the parents of these children go to work and the children play outside from morning till evening. Many did not come when I asked them to come for class. I told them if you don’t want to work hard as your parents and you don’t want anyone to call you an ass, then come and study. After a month of classes, they have learned a lot and I am confident that if the schools are reopened, they will move forward with confidence, ”said Jagadish.
The Kovid epidemic has had a devastating effect on education, with digital divisions of students in the shadow areas of the Internet and affordability pushing government-run primary school children into academically disadvantaged states. At the bottom of the economic ladder, parents send their children to government schools and many of them cannot afford to buy a smartphone and connect to the internet for online classes. These digital have-knots are more likely to drop out or end up as children with learning disabilities.
Bhabani Patra of Kusumi block in Mayurbhanj district said that due to the epidemic, students have been promoted to higher classes by not attending classes or taking part in exams. Many children have not even learned the basics of the alphabet and numbers. “It was a really uncomfortable situation for the kids because they never went to school but were promoted from first class to Anganwari or first class to second class. Introducing them to their studies was a challenge. I started to make them feel comfortable and tried to make learning fun. I started with drawing, various games, stories, music, dance and crafts. I am hopeful that it has made the whole process very enjoyable and the fear of lessons will go away from their minds forever, ”Bhabani said.
The State Council for Education Research and Training (SCERT) last month launched the Alternative Internship Program (AIP) where about 8,500 students from DEELD courses at 68 teacher training institutes in the state are employed to take physical classes of about one lakh students absent from school during the epidemic.
“In order to bridge the digital divide and reach out to digitally challenged students, we have decided to add students to our DLAED courses who will have the opportunity to complete their internships and practice physical education. After a month of physical education of these interns, we can learn many inspiring and inspiring stories from the inner pocket. Parents are also very happy that their children have the opportunity to learn during the epidemic, ”said Gangadhar Sahu, Director, SCERT.
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