Students of the Government Tribal Residential Higher Secondary School at Top Sengattupatti, a tribal village atop Pachamalai Hills have no access to online classes due to lack of network coverage in the area. The remote villages on the hills do not have a connection to cable TV either, through which Kalvi TV is telecast for students in the State.
The school is the only Higher Secondary School in the hills, where 366 students are enrolled. However, only 60% have access to smart phones. Even they do not have stable network access and are unable to access the school WhatsApp groups. The teachers send study material on the group, which the children access only when their parents travel to areas where there is a network connection.
The school’s teachers are helpless and have no choice but to recommend Kalvi TV, the State government’s video-learning platform. "There are students in Periya Nagar, a village on the hills, but belonging to Salem district where there is no connectivity at all. We send messages for them through children from the neighbouring villages," D. Suresh, Assistant Headmaster, Government Tribal Residential Higher Secondary School.
"We have been spending all our time helping our parents with housework and playing. We try to do school work but it is difficult to learn with the lack of connectivity," a student of class eight told The Hindu.
The school too did not have any connectivity until recently. "After multiple requests, we got a tower installed in the school itself. It is for the Hi-tech lab facility in the school, but we have been instructed not to allow students on campus in line with COVID-19 norms," Mr. Suresh said.
Following instructions from higher authorities, the teachers have made arrangements to gather students and teach them. "We identified four centres where there is a large concentration of the students. Two teachers will travel to each of these centres and teach one subject in the morning and one post-lunch. This is the least we can do to help the children out," he said.
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