Radio school catches up in Thane Zilla Parishad

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Updated on Nov 01, 2020 12:56 AM IST
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ByAnamika Gharat, Thane

With online learning being inaccessible to most tribal students or those from distant villages, the Thane Zilla Parishad (ZP) has begun imparting education through radios.

The ZP and an NGO, Pratham, started the ‘School outside the School’ initiative in several tribal padas in Thane district since two weeks.

Here, the students are taught through radio channels while lessons are also recorded on mobile application that could be accessed by students whenever they get access to the phone.

Many students from the interiors of Thane district are devoid of online education as they do not own a smartphone or have merely one phone among many siblings.

At present, the ZP teachers guide the students whenever they visit the village, but they cannot reach every student.

Education through radio started in tribal hamlets of Bhiwandi and Murbad two weeks ago and will soon be implemented in Shahpur.

Smitin Brid, 40, founder of this programme, said, “We first send a message of various concepts to the volunteers who read it out to the students or note it on a common village blackboard. The next day, the concept is explained to the students and their parents through an hour-long radio programme broadcast from Nagpur’s All India Radio centre. The programme is either broadcast through loudspeakers or at a common meeting place in the village.”

He added that they also answer two calls per session wherein the students are given an activity or a problem to solve while the speaker guides their parents on how they can help.

Brid added, “We give them simple ideas closer to their day-to-day life like how a mother can draw animals in the grains to teach art to the students or how an electrician father can teach his child to change light bulbs and the concept behind it.”

The parents are also asked to record how their child narrates a chapter or recites tables.

Hemlata Sasane Thane, a volunteer helping ZP in this project, said, “We have received several messages in which we have broadcast the best ones on the show. This project will involve parents, villagers and social workers who also get trained automatically in how to teach children when there is no teacher. Also, we have started recording these sessions and uploading them on YouTube so that our social workers can later show it to the tribal students.”

Sheshrav Bade, education officer of Zilla Parishad, added, “We have gathered a huge team for this project. The team comprises every area’s education officer, every Taluka officer, every Gramvikas department officer, Sarpanch, social worker, anganwadi workers as well as two volunteers from every village who have a phone. We have received good responses from the Sarpanch of Gram Panchayat. An SMS on the concepts is shared to the Sarpanch or volunteers and it reaches the children. In some villages, black wall is painted and on it, the education message is written and then children note down the information.”

Bade said that the volunteers ensure that every hamlet has a phone though which they can tune into the programme and children can gather at one place. “Some Sarpanch of the villages have suggested that the programme could be broadcast through loudspeakers in the village shrines. In the places that have power issues, we ensure we use our social workers who have Android phones and the recorded sessions could be watched on YouTube,” he added.

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