Mentor teachers, handpicked from among the six prominent tribal communities in Wayanad, have begun taking online classes for tribal students here in their own dialects. Implemented by Samagra Shiksha Kerala (SSK), the project envisages translating the content in Malayalam, being aired through the Government owned Victers channel, into tribal dialects by the mentors for onward transmission for the benefit of tribal students.
According to SSK, the Malayalam content is being translated into six local languages, Katunayaka, Paniya, Adiya, Kurichiya, Oorali and Kuruma. As of now,the videos and sport classes are made available through a YouTube channel and are also being sent to Whats App groups, specially made for this, with parents of the tribal students.
The sources said that the E-learning classes, being aired in tribal dialect, will benefit thousands of students in the district. If found beneficial, similar online classes, in tribal-friendly dialects, would also be aired in hamlets in Malappuram, Palakkad and Idukki, the sources said.
The tribal students were finding it difficult to rope into “First Bell” online classes for school students that got underway from June 1 through Victers channel due to lack of television sets and smart phones to connect with the channel and the difficulty in understanding, as the medium of instruction of e-learning in vernacular Malayalam.
There are over 22,000 tribal students in the district, belonging to the six communities, in classes from one to 12, G Pramod, Tribal Development Officer, Mananthavady, said.
As many as 248 mentor teachers are involved in the SSK project, enabling the translation of Malayalam content into tribal dialects, he said.
The authorities have put up TV sets or laptops in community centres in the tribal colonies or in a specified spot close to their hamlets for the hassle-free attendance of the students.
Extending a helping hand, the Wayanad MP and former AICC president Rahul Gandhi had provided 175 smart television sets last week. He had earlier gifted 50 sets on his birthday.
The aid from Gandhi came in response to an appeal by District Congress Committee president I C Balakrishnan, who wrote to him about the difficulties faced by tribal students having no infrastructure to connect to the First Bell, virtual class for students launched by the State Government.
The Congress leader had earlier distributed 100 TV sets each in two taluks in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts, forming part of his constituency. The Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu inaugurated the project online on Friday, marking the official commencement of online classes in tribal dialects.
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