Internet access remains a big problem, while for some mobile phones are proving to be too distracting
With SSLC exams less than two months away and offline classes suspended again owing to the second wave of COVID-19, teachers in rural areas are anxious about students not being able to attend revision classes. Ironically, while Internet connectivity remains a major issue in many rural pockets, teachers say online access itself is proving too distracting for a section of students.
In many schools, hardly 50% of students attend online revision class ahead of exams starting July 21. Some of them quit the class within minutes after logging in, say teachers. A major reason is that Internet connectivity is fickle or non-existent.
Venkatesh Vaidya, who teaches Mathematics at Hosanagar in Shivamogga district, said that it was impossible to conduct online classes for his students. The taluk has many villages tucked away among hills. Teachers distribute worksheets and insist they return them after finishing the assignments. “We are in touch with parents and request them to visit school, when they come to the town for other work, to take worksheets,” he said.
Raghavendra Bhat, science teacher at Megaravalli in Thirthahalli taluk, said that several of his students now have mobile phones to access classes. Parents bought phones for children, even if there were financial constrains, because it was key to their education. But with connectivity issues unresolved, students have to look around for an elevated place, where they can get better Internet connectivity. There have been instances of students perching on trees to find connectivity.
Teachers say that some students seem to be under the impression that they would be promoted without an exam like in the lower classes, making them lose interest. M.P. Mamatha, who teaches English at Government High School at Halebidu in Belur taluk in Hassan district, told The Hindu that of the 113 students in SSLC roughly 50-60 students attend her online class. “Almost all have got mobile phones now, but it is difficult to make them attend online classes, ” she said.
More into games
Parents also fears that their children have taken to using phones more to play games. In fact, when offline classes began after a long break, students accustomed to phones carried them to classrooms and were caught playing games. “A couple of parents called teachers to complain that buying phone was wasteful as their children played games that involved money transactions. Parents have to keep vigil on their children,” she said.
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