SThe Coronavirus Pandemic has locked the whole world down, ceasing the normalcy of lives and enclosing us within four walls. Amidst all this, the lockdown imposed by the Central Government in India has led to the closure of schools, universities, and other institutions as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, Kerala launched online education for classes 1-12 with the commencement of the normal academic year. Called ‘First Bell’, these sessions are telecasted through VICTERS Channel, under the State General Education Department.
In Mankeri, a village of Malappuram District lives a family surviving on the bare minimum in the toughest of the times people have seen. The father of the Dalit family, Balakrishna is a daily wager whose work has ceased due to the lockdown. And due to the circumstances they are stuck in, he is unable to provide a smartphone or to repair television to the bright studious daughter who will enter class 10th this year. A photo of the daughter receiving an award for academic brilliance was hanging on the wall of the house.
The fifteen-year-old was missing since Monday. Around 6 p.m her charred body is found in an unoccupied house a few yards away from her home.
Devika Balakrishna left a heart-wrenching note “I’m going.”
“She had been telling us to repair the television [so she could] attend the online class. But we had no money to repair the television and we have no smartphone,” reads Balakrishnan’s statement to the police.
“The family was financially very strained and the girl was worried she would not be able to study further, or that her studies would be affected. Initial reports suggest she was upset about not having access to the TV or online classes since they started,” a senior police official told NDTV.
According to the Hindu, Kerala Students Union leaders said they would launch an agitation in front of the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) office at Malappuram soon, demanding that the online classes in the State be stopped until all the necessary facility are available to all students.
Out of the 8 lakh student in Malappuram who are supposed to join the online classes, nearly 64,000 don’t have access to internet facility.
The grim reality perceives hundreds of thousands of students with the unavailability of internet connections. While the guidelines issued for Unlock 1.0 or Lockdown 5.0 states that the schools will reopen in July after the States and Union Territories think fit to reopen schools considering the spread of COVID-19. Till then, online classes are going on in nearly all the schools and colleges an initiative encouraged by the Home Ministry. An estimated 2.5 lakh students in Kerela alone don’t have access to television or any other device that can avail internet connection.
In the meantime, India has reported nearly 2 lakh coronavirus cases with the death toll rising to 5800. The states with proliferation on the rise may not reopen the schools and continue with online studies and examinations. What remains stressful for students is the unavailability of internet connection in uncountable houses.