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HP: 4% students not connected to online teaching, finds survey

Officials of the Samagra Shiksha scheme conducted a survey to review the progress of 'Har Ghar Pathshala', the online learning activity of students in the absence of regular teaching at schools.

By: Express News Service | Shimla | August 17, 2020 11:18:56 pm
Online classes, TV lesson, Covid crisis, Ahmedabad news, Gujarat news, Indian express newsVarious other modes like live streaming and online classes for teaching students of classes III to XII were added in July and August. However, these lower primary classes were so far not covered under any of the state’s learning programmes. (Represebtational)

Nearly 4 per cent of school students in Himachal Pradesh are not connected to the home-based virtual learning programme being run by educators during the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey has revealed.

Officials of the Samagra Shiksha scheme conducted a survey to review the progress of ‘Har Ghar Pathshala’, the online learning activity of students in the absence of regular teaching at schools. District-level research and education coordinators reached out to 3,877 students across all 12 districts telephonically or in person to conduct the survey.

The survey found that since the lockdown began, 95.2 per cent students have been connected to their teachers through WhatsApp (82 per cent) or other electronic means such as video calling and television. In fact, 8.8 per cent students were connected through both WhatsApp and video calling, and 2.8 per cent through both Whatsapp and TV (Himachal runs a three-hour teaching programme on Doordarshan for the students of Class X and XII).

One per cent of the students have been connected through offline printed worksheets, but 3.8 per cent have not been connected to their teachers through any medium, mainly due to lack of availability of a smartphone, the survey found.

Among those not connected through WhatsApp, the main mode of teaching, (a total of 212 respondents or 5.47 per cent), 59 per cent students cited not having a smartphone in the family as the reason; 11.8 per cent said that the phone in the house is being used by another one of their siblings; and 10.8 per cent said that their parents (and their phones) are not at home during the daytime, when the classes are held. Eight per cent of those not connected said that they were not aware about the online teaching programme.

Anuradha Sharma, a research and evaluation coordinator, said that surveyors mostly failed to reach students in remote areas of the state such as Pangi, Dodra-Kwar and Lahaul-Spiti as there is very little network connectivity in these areas. “We learnt that in some of these areas such as Kaza in Spiti, workshsheets are being provided to students at their homes as an alternative,” she said.

A ‘state resource group’ comprising 150 subject teachers prepares the online teaching content every day which is then provided to the children through various mediums including a website. Most of the students are also connected to their schools via Whatsapp, through which they receive assignments, video lectures and worksheets.

Around 7 per cent of the respondents said that they do not solve these worksheets due to reasons such as the worksheets not being shared with them, or being too lengthy, or the students not being aware how to solve them.

Asked if they watch the videos uploaded on the ‘Har Ghar Pathshala’ website, 13.4 students replied they do not do so because they are not aware about them, or their mobile data pack exhausts, or because the videos are uninteresting and lengthy.

A weekly WhatsApp quiz is also held for the students to assess how much they learnt through the week, but 39 per cent of the students surveyed said that they do not participate in the quiz, mainly because they’re not aware about it.

The parents and the students surveyed suggested that the government should provide smartphones to students, and data plans should be cheaper for them. Many parents also said that teachers should visit their locality at least once a week. Online videos and worksheets should be concise and not lengthy, and the quiz should be related to all subjects, they suggested.

“To boost their learning, we have also prepared workbooks for students which have been dispatched to our district offices. They’re now expected to reach each student’s house,” said Dr Manjula Sharma, State Pedagogy Incharge of Samagra Shiksha, Himachal Pradesh.

State Project Director Ashish Kohli appealed to all students to regularly participate in the weekly quiz and solve all worksheets and assignments given to them.

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