Updated: June 16, 2021 10:00:26 am
CONSIDERING ONLINE teaching will continue this academic year due to a possible third wave and its likely impact on children, the PMC has decided to provide tablets with free internet facility to 38,000 students of Classes IV to VIII studying in civic schools. This is being done to ensure that students do not miss out on online education due to lack of required gadgets and internet facilities.
Former deputy mayor and RPI(A) corporator Siddarth Dhende had proposed to the PMC to make these tablets available to civic school students, as most were suffering due to restricted access to required facilities for attending online classes.
“There are one lakh children studying in civic schools run by the PMC. In the previous academic year, there was no classroom teaching due to the pandemic and online classes were conducted. Most students faced inconvenience in attending online classes as they did not have access to gadgets and internet. There is no permission for classroom teaching for this academic year, so far. There is uncertainty over reopening of schools for classroom teaching as experts have predicted that the the possible third wave is more likely to affect children. Thus, facilities for online education need to be provided for the new academic year,” said Hemant Rasane, chairperson of the standing committee.
The PMC has provided free books, uniform, raincoats, shoes, sweaters and other material to civic school students and, for the past few years, has also started transferring money through direct benefit transfer (DBT) to students’ bank accounts for the purchase of school material.
“The PMC, last year, made a budgetary provision of Rs 17 crore for DBT for civic school students, but it could not be spent due to closure of schools. The provision of Rs 17 crore for the same purpose has been made in this year’s budget of the civic body. Thus, it has been decided that instead of DBT scheme, the civic body will provide tablets with free internet facility to 38,000 civic school students of Classes IV to VIII for online education,” Rasane said.
He also said the decision will ensure that students did not suffer academically due to lack of gadgets and internet facilities.
Dhende had urged the PMC to provide tablets and internet facility to civic school students saying the PMC was among top 10 smart cities in the country. “There are around one lakh students in civic schools, of which 38,000 are in Classes IV to VIII. They are from poor families, and many have been adversely impacted during the pandemic. Most families didn’t have an income source and small businesses were completely closed. The families have the burden of repaying bank loans for business and vehicles. They have also suffered a lot to ensure meals,” he said.
The former deputy mayor said the education department has declared that 43 per cent students suffered due to lack of facilities for online education. “The situation is grave as 80 per cent students suffered due to lack of gadgets,” he said.
He said if the PMC purchased tablets from an internet service provider, then it would cost Rs 5,000 per piece, and that the civic body could afford it.
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