A few days after schools closed in the state owing to the state-wide lockdown due to coronavirus, several teachers from government aided, BMC and Zilla Parishad schools in the state had a tough challenge to face- interacting with their students and ensuring their well-being.
While most private schools easily moved to online teaching-learning during these days, students from low income families, who have no access to technology and whose parents lack the awareness about its use, were left with nothing to do. During such times, several teachers from these schools tried to ensure that the students are given some guidance to study from their homes even as challenges remain aplenty.
Vikram Adsul, a teacher from the Bandgar Vasti school in Ahmednagar, which has several students from the Dhangar community attend said that he has been regularly calling parents to keep track of what the children are up to. “Here, we have very poor connectivity and most parents don’t even own smartphones. Hence remote learning is not feasible for them. We call them and ask what they did over the last few days, give them some work, and basically just talk to them,” said Adsul. “Some of them who have smartphones are sent links where they can hear lectures and interesting things during these days,” he added.
Vinayak Walvaikar, principal at the Aarey colony municipal school in Goregaon said that a lot of students from the local communities rely on school for more than their classes. “We hold summer camps for them where we do a lot of physical activities. They don’t get these experiences outside of the school.”Walvaikar said that the school usually communicates with a couple of parents from each class who have access to mobiles and are tech savvy. “We send them some homework on whatsapp and ask them to pass it around,” he adds. Charuhas Dalvi, who works as a music teacher at the school also distributed food essentials to families of a few students recently.
Aarti Kambli, who teaches at a preschool in Andheri said that it is important for children from low income families to get some guidance during such times. “The sheer absence of communication can often make them anxious. Talking to their teachers even once in a while is a big boost to their morale,” she added.
The state education department has cancelled the exams for Classes 1-8 and these students are going to be promoted on the basis of their previous scores.