The new academic session in Kerala schools has begun with a new method of teaching. Due to COVID-19 pandemic children cannot reach schools right now. Instead, the government is preparing a system for a home study. It will be completely online using multiple virtual platforms. The online classes, named “First Bell” were telecast through educational channel IT @School VICTERS.
The classes were started by a message from CM Pinarayi Vijayan. “I wish all the students a wonderful academic session. The teachers and the parents should ensure that the children attend the online class. We have brought out some curbs in our daily life. We must ensure social distancing. It is not possible to start normal classes as it may cause spread of the virus. However, we need to carry forward the studies of our kids,” he said
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayanlap told media that in places where students do not have access to TV in their houses, neighbourhood study centres would be launched. “Those who have lost the classes today need not worry. This is a trial one. After a week, there would be repeat telecast of classes. The expense of launching neighbourhood study centres would be borne by Kerala State Financial Enterprises and local-self-governing bodies. Around 1.20 lakh laptops and 4450 TV sets provided to schools as part of improving IT infrastructure would be used for providing the facility,’’ he said.
Various NGOs and local self-government institutions have set up digital classrooms in Dalit colonies and adivasi hamlets. In many places, local bodies and charitable trusts have come forward to supply TV or smartphones to poor students who would otherwise miss the classes telecast. In Alappuzha district, Kanjikkuzhy village panchayat gave smartphones to 75 students. In Thrissur, a people’s initiative provided TV sets to 600 students at Nattika.
The Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) has brought out the timetable for the classes. The sessions will be held from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm from Monday to Friday for all classes from I to XII, except class XI, on the channel. “45 lakh students and parents are in front of the channel for the classes. Further, he added, that the online classes were just a temporary arrangement and not an alternative to traditional classroom learning. “Once the situation normalises, students can return to their classrooms. All shortcomings in the online system will be rectified,” said Raveendranath.
Minister for Higher Education, K T Jaleel launched the online class for the college students and took history class. The time slots for different classes vary from half-an-hour to two hours, a press release issued by KITE said.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy pointed out that Victer’s TV channel was launched by then-President APJ Abdul Kalam when Chandy was the Chief Minister in 2005.