July 13, 2021 9:15:31 am
As access to the internet connection, unavailability of gadgets, and network issues continue to affect school students attending online classes, the Karnataka government is likely to use the space and infrastructure available in gram panchayat (GP) libraries situated across the state to impart online education.
“We are planning to install television sets at public libraries in 5,766 GPs to ensure students who do not have access to any device are not deprived of education, especially those in rural areas. Students will be able to use these TVs to attend live, online, or recorded academic sessions telecast on DD Chandana,” S Suresh Kumar, Primary and Secondary Education Minister said.
The minister noted that the rainy season too had hampered the prospects of students attending classes online in the state, especially from Malenadu areas, admitting that he was aware of the network issues they faced.
“As we continue to rely on online classes due to the pandemic situation delaying the start of physical classes, strengthening mobile networks in rural areas of the state is important. This will ensure continuity in learning for our students,” Kumar added after meeting Prof Doreswamy, Education Advisor to the state, Prashant Prakash, advisor to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
Earlier during the day, Kumar met Chief Secretary P Ravikumar on the issue. According to the Education Minister’s office, Ravikumar apprised the Minister that the Additional Chief Secretary of Information and Technology Department had received a positive response from mobile network providers to strengthen coverage across the state, especially in rural pockets, after the same was instructed by Deputy CM and Higher Education Minister C N Ashwathnarayan.
Further, Kumar welcomed the High Court’s decision allowing the state government to conduct SSLC examinations on July 19 and 22. “The HC judgment has boosted the confidence among students and the government to conduct the exams,” he said.
Earlier last week, Kumar had elaborated on the government’s plans to establish ‘mobile banks’ to ensure gadgets needed to access online classes to students deprived of them, especially in rural pockets of the state.
The Education Minister explained, “Not-for-profits and philanthropists will be roped in to implement the initiative by which spare smartphones and other devices will be collected and distributed to students who require them.”
A recent survey conducted by the Department of Public Instruction had revealed that 33 per cent of the 93.01 lakh students in the state had no access to mobile phones, computers, tablets, and other gadgets needed to facilitate online learning.
The report had also noted that 40 of the students surveyed from across 34 educational districts in the state had no internet. While Chamarajanagar reported the least share of students with access to the internet (38.92%), several other areas in Belagavi, Ballari, Bidar, Chitradurga, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Davanagere, Haveri, Vijayapura, Raichur, and Yadgir reported low numbers. Students who reported good access to the internet were from Bengaluru South (74.64%), Udupi (71.87%), and Bengaluru North (71.53%).
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