A new era of online platforms have transformed the prevalent education system with around 400 million of students globally switching over to virtual learning packets and are getting customised to the ‘tricks and tips’ of the new learning system.
To give education to the children during the lockdown period in a state like Himachal Pradesh was rather a herculean task as 90 percent of the population lives in rural areas with only few takers of laptops, less attuned to modern techniques and fluctuating high speed internet data due to topographical shadow areas. This was a major hindrance.
Pondering upon as how to reach the students, so that their studies doesn’t get effected, the Himachal Pradesh Government under the able guidance of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur hit upon an idea to use Doordarshan Channel to reach to the students besides other online programmes and Apps.
An innovative programme, “Gyan Shala-Har Ghar Pathshala” was launched after evaluating all pros and cons. The Education department was on its toes preparing the curriculum and designing the prepared lecture packets under the programme. To give shape, the department concentrated on the elementary section and the higher education part.
Under the former, the WhattsApp groups were formed up to school level. Well prepared content is being delivered to the students prepared by the subject specialists in routine.
The daily basis time slot from 10:00 AM to 12:00 Noon is fixed for classes with a slogan “SAMAY DAS SE BARAH BALA, HAR GHAR BANE PATHSHALA” wherein study material, videos and assessment sheets are provided to the students followed by daily monitoring.
More comprehensive plan was formulated for higher classes for the secondary and senior secondary which includes telecast of multi media e-content on Doordarshan Shimla for the entire State, as per syllabus, for three hours daily i.e. from 10:00 AM to 01:00 PM for almost all subjects of board classes, particularly class 10th and 12th from 17 April, 2020
The Government directed all the cable and DTH operators to mandatorily telecast DD Shimla and other Channels as well. The students could better work out their studies now on DD Free Dish Channel No. 93, Fastway Channel No. 95, Good Media/ City Channel No. 804, Airtel DTH 406.
Besides, this the content is delivered to students daily through their respective teachers right from state to block level.
The well supported learning packs with audio-video delivery on Doordarshan and Whattsapp groups have eased the life of children who are grateful to the Government for this initiative.
The State government is also delivering e-content from “Swayam Sidham” a portal for all students and teachers, where the teachers can access study material and the contents available on this portal any day and at any time.
Besides, this Students can access “Swayam Prabha”, an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India having high quality educational contents through 32 channels on DTH across the length and breadth of the country on 24X7 basis.
“The online learning expertise in this crisis should serve as a reminder that institutions need to cultivate this competency”, said the chief Minister, adding that we have enough resources and in coming times, we will try tap them for the welfare of the community at large.
“I believe there are ways we can make sure that when crises like these do occur, every child has the ability to learn remotely and not bereft of learning and could pursue uninterrupted education , says Education Minister, Suresh Bhardwaj.
Aryan, a student of one of the school in Shimla rightly says that online learning is capable of filling many of the voids created by this pandemic.
If institutions, lack such preparation and planning measures, these need to be put in right place now as we need to be adapted to online education, online employment, online business, online trade, online transactions, and many more digital practises and accepting all pros and cons, says Pradeep Thakur, s/o Balwant Thakur, a teacher in one of the high schools in district Kangra. COVID-19 has changed the present scenario of learning and digital expansion in education sector is need of the hour, says Director Higher Education, Amarjeet Sharma and Director Elementary Education, Rohit Jamwal.