Classes on loudspeaker: Jharkhand teacher beats odds of online learning

It a correct saying that “Teachers can change the world” and that is what Shyam Kishore Singh Gandhi, the headmaster of a school in Jharkhand’s Dumka district, has been trying to do for his over students, who may not have smartphones but have the willingness to continue their education during these times.
The headmaster of a school in Jharkhand’s Dumka district has put up several loudspeakers across the Bankathi village where his Upgraded Middle School is located. This has been done to ensure the reach of the classes which are being held for two hours every day since April 16, beating the odds of online learning. The students sit near the loudspeakers which have been put up on trees and walls at different locations, and attend the classes.
The implementation of such a service has been well planned by him since the louder speakers are put up where the number of students is more. Five teachers give class sessions over the mic from the main classroom, Gandhi said.
Thousands of schools and colleges across India have switched to online as classrooms remain shut since mid-March amid the coronavirus outbreak. There are 246 students from class 1 to class 8, and 204 of them do not have mobile phones,” Gandhi said. He said the classes start at 10 am daily. “If the students have any doubt or want to ask any question, they can send their queries to me from anyone’s mobile phone and we explain it the next day,” he added.
Gandhi said the model is working and students are grasping well what is being taught. The students are receptive and are enjoying the new style of studying, said an elderly villager. Lauding the headmaster, Dumka’s district education officer Poonam Kumari said all the 2,317 government schools here should emulate the model so that the students would not have to struggle to complete the syllabus once the lockdown is lifted.
The effort is praiseworthy and all the schools in Dumka district should follow this idea in the interest of the students, Kumari said, adding that she would soon visit the school and the village to learn about the teaching method. Students in cities and towns across the country attend classes online, however rural areas continue to grapple with the new system due to unsteady connectivity and lack of devices such as smartphones and computers. The loudspeakers can be the new appraoch towards spreading education where there is lack of other resources.
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