The Kerala State Government will be beginning the Virtual classes for the school students from today (June 1, 2020). The online classes are being conducted in order to make sure that the students in the state do not miss out on the classes due to the lockdown enforced across the state due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
K Jeevan Baby, Director of Public Instruction (DPI) has stated that the Virtual classes will be conducted through the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE)-Victers channel under the name ‘First Bell’.
The DPI while speaking to the media regarding the virtual classes stated approval from the central and state government is required in order to open schools and start the regular classes for the students. He has stated that due to this the department has decided to start the Online/Virtual classes through KITE Victers Channel.
A time table has also been brought out by KITE for conducting the classes for the students. The classes will be conducted from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM from Monday to Friday for the students from class 1 to 12, except class 11 on the channel. According to the press release issued by the KITE, students have been provided with a time slot for the students from the different classes which go down from half an hour to hour.
The DPI further added that the department of education is unable to open the schools in the state considering the health situation across the state and the country however, the class 10 and 12 students of Kerala Board have appeared for the remaining board examinations conducted from May 26, 2020, onwards.
He has admitted that the new method adopted for teaching and learning will be a challenge for both the students and teachers and the department is worried about the section of students who do not have the basic facility or online classes. The department has however identified over two lakh students under this category.
Alternative measures for students who lack the provision
As part of the classes, the classes teachers and the school heads have been asked to make sure that the students have access to a television or a smartphone or a computer and an internet connection for attending the classes. In case there are students who lack such facilities, the teachers and school heads have been asked to find an alternative mode for the students to attend the online classes, in real-time or later.
Alternatives such as television or internet facilities from neighbours, friends living nearby, libraries or Akshaya Centres have been put forth for the students, the department has also informed that all the classes will be downloadable and will be compiled together and shown to those students who have missed the classes.
The Session on KTE Victers Channel will be available simultaneously on the KITE Victers Website - victers.kite.kerala.gov.in, Mobile App and Social Media pages. The department has further stated that in the first week, the classes will be telecast on a trial basis and the same will be repeated in the second week.
Agencies preparing the study module
The agencies under the General Education Department including the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), KITE, Samagra Shiksha Kerala (SSK), and the State Institute of Educational Technology will be preparing the study modules to be followed by the students or the virtual classes.
KITE has informed that in the first week at least 1.2 lakh laptops along with over 7000 projectors with and close to 4,545 televisions have been readied for the students who lack the facilities or attend the online classes.