Punjab’s education department publishes study materials online, but e-learning for migrant children is easier said than done
As the new academic session began for public schools in the Punjab on April 1, the education department released online study materials on Thursday for students to study at home amid the COVID-pandemic. 19.
From video content on YouTube to e-books (April curriculum chapters) on Google Drive and the iScuela Learn mobile app, the study material has been uploaded along with the weekly study schedule and routines for grades I through XII.
Following the coronavirus outbreak and the imposition of the curfew in Punjab, schools are closed indefinitely until further notice. But the main problem that remains to be solved for teachers in the state’s public schools is to connect with children from migrant families through online platforms, as these children do not have access to smartphones or YouTube or to internet. ‘other online platforms where content has been uploaded.
Therefore, teachers say online learning for migrant children is easier said than done.
The majority of children who study in the state’s public schools come from migrant families, and their parents work as agricultural or construction workers or gamble daily. Either they have returned to their country of origin or they will now be occupied during the wheat harvest season. With limited or no access to gadgets, smartphones, or even computers, teachers say they can’t force children from migrant families to start reading chapters or e-books on Google Drive, YouTube, or any other app. mobile.
Baljinder Singh Dhaliwal, a teacher in the Moga government and Secretary of State, Master Cadre Union, said:
âAll of these e-learning platforms are very useful for children from tech-friendly backgrounds, but it should be remembered that in public schools in Punjab the majority of our students come from migrant families and financially more weak. These days, due to the lockdown, they are more worried about having two meals a day. Either they have returned to their native villages, or they will now take care of the wheat harvest. The children also help their parents with the wheat harvest. For children who can access these e-learning platforms this is fine, but otherwise teachers cannot force migrant children to organize access to e-learning platforms. It is neither feasible nor practical for them.
He added: âTeachers have also been ordered to proceed with admissions by phone and WhatsApp. How is this practical? How to convince parents to admit their child to a public school by telephone without visiting them? It may be possible in cities, but not in villages.
Sandeep Nagar, Deputy Director, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), Punjab Department of Education, said: âWe have posted content that is easily accessible for teachers and students. EDUSAT’s courses, programs and eBooks for all grades I through XII are now on Google Drive, the link of which has been distributed to all principals. We are trying to think of other ways to connect with other children who do not have access to online learning platforms.
On YouTube, the content has been uploaded to the âEdusat Punjabâ account while on the iScuela Learn mobile application, it is accessible by entering a code sent to teachers. A video explaining how to use this app is also posted on YouTube.
Class 10, 12 exam preparations pending via “social networks or phone calls”
Meanwhile, another round of orders received by principals and principals subsequently ordered to “stay in touch” with students in grades X and XII who have some of their exams pending. School leaders should divide the number of children between teachers for guidance and counseling, the orders say.
Teachers were also invited to speak to students one-on-one on the phone and ask them questions about their daily routine and preparation for pending exams so that âstudents take their studies seriouslyâ and âhave confidence in themselvesâ. Teachers were also asked to decide which daily chapters to review and to prepare question banks for the students. “It must be managed via social networks or phone calls”, specify the orders, adding that “this period of crisis must be treated as preparatory leave for the students”.
The orders add that in order to “achieve the Shatpratishat mission,” efforts should continue even amid the coronavirus and the lockdown. “School leaders should talk to at least 10% of students in council classes daily and try to get their feedback …”, say the orders, adding that under no circumstances should teachers leave their homes.
Meanwhile at PAU …
At the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) Ludhiana, the major crisis has been the loss of contact with farmers, as the Kisan Mela – which has helped farmers prepare for the next kharif season – had to be canceled. Although it was initially decided that the university seed store located at gate number 1 would be opened, it also remains closed and farmers cannot purchase seeds for rice planting.
The students were about to take their midterm exams when the curfew was ordered, so they are still on hold. However, crops grown on campus for research and experimentation are supported with special permission from the Vice-Chancellor. Teachers are also in contact with students for their research thesis and other questions by mail and WhatsApp. âSocial distancing is maintained on campus. Vehicles are not allowed and only Gates 4 and 8 are open at entry for those with curfew passes. We interact with the farmers through the Kheti Sandesh electronic magazine sent via WhatsApp every week. The students in the hostels left for the homes with the exception of a few international students. Critical work such as releasing the wages of paid daily workers and taking over research areas is done with permission from VC, âsaid Jagdish Kaur, spokesperson for the UPA.
âThe MTE exams were due to start when the curfew was announced, so students are suspended halfway,â she added.