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9 teachers transcribe e-classes for students missing out due to farm chores, power cuts

Many children living in villages are forced to miss them either due to no power supply, or because they accompany their family to the fields for paddy transplantation. Some also find the lessons difficult to comprehend.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana | July 16, 2020 11:41:24 pm
punjab education department, punjab online classes, punjab education, punjab e classes, punjab power cuts, indian express news Though the Punjab government’s recently launched app ‘Educare’ has content for all classes, the efforts of these teachers at the individual level which is still continuing. (Representational)

WHILE 1.12 lakh teachers and volunteers of the Punjab education department are trying to reach out to students via YouTube, Doordarshan lectures, Zoom classes etc., a group of nine of them have been walking the extra mile.

These teachers are busy making scripts by transcribing the Doordarshan classes for primary students. Online classes via Doordarshan Punjabi had started on May 18 for government school students. However, many children living in villages are forced to miss them either due to no power supply, or because they accompany their family to the fields for paddy transplantation. Some also find the lessons difficult to comprehend.

Elementary Trained Teacher (ETT) Himanshu Singla, who teaches at the Government Primary School in Banga village of Sangrur district, told The Indian Express, “After 2-3 days of classes via Doordarshan, I started getting calls from students who said they had missed the classes due to one reason or other, and asked me for help. Hence, I started attending the hour-long classes, which are for class III onwards. I began noting down the content for classes III, IV and V. A friend, Vishal Goyal who teaches at a primary school in Kadawi village of Patiala, also started helping. We started transcribing the online lectures for primary students and started sending them out through different WhatsApp groups to over 1,300 teachers across the state, who in turn forward them to their students.”

Soon, seven more teachers joined Himanshu and Vishal. They divided the work amongst themselves. Vishal was script editor and compiler while Gurwinder Singh Uppal, a teacher at Dolewala village’s primary school in Sangrur, started making scripts of Punjabi for classes III, IV and V. Kiran Rana, who works at Pahlewal village of Hoshiarpur district, is making scripts of English. Navdeep Kaur takes care of maths in English medium while Navneet Kaur takes care of maths in Punjabi medium. Both are teaching in Patiala villages. Sukhda Sharma and Bandhna Singla, both teachers in Patiala villages, are making scripts of environmental science (EVS) in English and Punjabi mediums respectively.

Though there are no classes for classes I and II students via Doordarshan, Satnam Kaur, a teacher of Government Primary school in Jalbera village of Patiala, is creating interactive lessons for them in all subjects as per the ‘Padho Punjab’ curriculum.

While many schools are teaching students on their own, many others have started depending on lessons prepared by this team of nine teachers after their students attend lectures on Doordarshan.

“Paddy transplantation is over but now basmati is being transplanted. Many families have been taking their children along with them to the fields and hence scripts of the Doordarshan lectures help ensure that they don’t miss out on anything. We started this initiative on our own, just to help students. In the scripts, our contacts are mentioned for teachers’ reference in case they need any clarification, but the same scripts were being sent by teachers to students of many schools across Punjab and hence we got surprised when students started sending their homework to us, said Jimanshu.

Lectures on Doordarshan are aired Monday to Saturday for an hour in which 20 minutes each are given to one class. After the Doordarshan programme is over, it takes around 2 hours for teachers to transcribe the lesson and prepare the script and by 1 pm, it reaches over 1,300 teachers and later their students.

Though the Punjab government’s recently launched app ‘Educare’ has content for all classes, the efforts of these teachers at the individual level which is still continuing.

Education secy all praise

Krishan Kumar, state education secretary, appreciated the work of all teachers in Punjab. He stated that the department has been operating lectures via Edusat in government schools for the past many years. Moreover, the department has already prepared e-content of the syllabus for all classes, which is already in operation in government schools duly equipped with the smart classrooms. Hence, government school teachers have already been broadcasting lectures through Edusat and taking digital classes.

The department has launched the ‘Ghar Baithe Sikhya’ programme. Teachers have been taking virtual classes with the help of various tools of information technology i.e. WhatsApp, Google Drive, YouTube, TV and radio channels. The study material includes PDF files, video lectures, audio lectures and quizzes. The study material is imparted as per set schedule to students through DD Punjabi, Swayam Prabha Channel, AIR PatialaFM 100.2, and Zoom app. To evaluate the students, quizzes via Google forms are being sent to the students, said the secretary.

State media coordinator for education department Hardeep Singh said teachers diligently follow up with students who don’t have access to smartphones or internet. “The teachers ask these students to connect with other students in their village who have access to smartphones so as to gain access to the lessons,” he added.

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