70% govt school students accessing lessons on WhatsAppUpdated: Apr 29, 2020 23:11 IST
Around 70% of government school students from classes 2 to 12 in the district have connected via Whatsapp as part of the ‘Ghar se Padhao’ online learning campaign, according to a state government report.
The ‘Ghar se Padhao’ campaign was launched on April 14 to ensure that teachers remain in regular contact with parents and students through WhatsApp during the countrywide lockdown imposed from March 25 to contain Covid-19. While teachers share academic videos and worksheets, students are required to maintain a dedicated notebook to record their work.
The findings were based on data recorded through Google Form responses, where in respondents could send feedback over the programme. Out of the 117,731 students in the district that fall under the category, 82,060 had connected via WhatsApp.
The remaining students have struggled to stay in tune with the rest of the class on WhatsApp due to accessibility and connectivity issues. Teachers and students said that while some couldn’t afford a smartphone, others were unable to get it recharged.
As per the report, around 2,106 teachers out of a total of 3502 are registering participation of students in Gurugram. They were reporting detailed action/activities-undertaken during the lockdown.
District education officer Indu Boken said, “We created five Google Forms which are sent out daily (to WhatsApp groups), and collated.” She said that students in remote locations were attending classes which implied that lessons were reaching students in most areas.
School principals said that while teachers were sharing study material and assignments regularly via WhatsApp, the medium had its limitations, and they couldn’t accurately ascertain the engagement levels of students.
“While some students are taking the lessons seriously, asking questions and responding, there are some who need to be prodded for submission of work,” said Suman Sharma, principal of Government Model Senior Secondary School in Sector 4/7, Urban Estate.
Sharma said that some students had been unable to catch up due to the unavailability of smartphones. “Most of these children come from backgrounds where parents have a simple phone for the purpose of making calls. Some of them even borrow phones from their neighbours to access assignments, but they fail to respond actively due to the hassle of borrowing the phone time and again,” said Sharma.
She, however, added that more and more students were gradually understanding the gravity of the current situation, and trying to connect via WhatsApp. “We are noticing an improvement in engagement levels as children become aware of online classes. Parents have also reached out with doubts regarding online classes,” said Sharma.
For students who can’t access WhatsApp, the state education department has initiated the transmission of lessons via NCERT’s Swayamprabha channel and three Haryana EDUSAT channels which are being aired on cable TV.