Jharkhand students
Children in Jharkhand sit down in the shade to attend daily classes. Image Credit: Supplied

Patna: A government school in the Jharkhand state has come up with an innovative idea to teach poor students who don’t own smartphones for attending online classes.

The Upgraded Middle School located at Bankathi village in tribal-dominated Dumka block has placed several loudspeakers on tree branches or rooftops around the village.

Students are just required to come to the balcony of their houses or simply outside their house to listen to the teachers giving lectures over loudspeakers and write them down in their notebooks.

It is a really unique sight to see the children sitting outside their homes and busy in study for about two hours every day by strictly following the social distancing at this time of the coronavirus pandemic. Many children are also seen sitting under the shades of trees and calmly listening to what is being taught.

The teachers turned to this peculiar idea as the majority of students who come from the tribal community didn’t have smartphones. A total 246 students are enrolled in Grade One to Grade Eight in this school but only 42 had smartphones that had been hindering the online classes.

Teachers said they initially started online classes for the students but its benefits didn’t reach many as the majority of them didn’t own smartphones. Even those who had smartphones, many were caught playing games on mobiles.

“So, we decided to fit loudspeakers on trees and rooftops near the houses of the students. Now, the children are able to grasp our lesson with ease,” school principal Shyam Kishore Gandhi said. He said the idea was to make the children learn while sitting in homes at this time of pandemic and they had succeeded in their efforts.

“We needed to teach the students while strictly maintaining the social distancing norms, and the very idea has proved quite helpful. We are very happy,” Gandhi said adding if any student has any doubt, they could contact them over phone.

Children have also appreciated the idea of the teachers. “My study was getting affected since I didn’t have a smartphone but now I am able to complete my study with this initiative,” Grade Eight student Ganga Kumari said.

Thousands of schools and colleges across India have switched to online classes in the aftermath of the pandemic but this idea has become a big hit.

Local district education officer Poonam Kumari has lauded the initiative of the school administration and asked other schools to adopt this idea so that every student gets the benefits of study.

“The effort is praiseworthy and all schools in the district should follow this idea in the interest of the students,” Kumari told the media on Thursday. There are a total of 2,317 government schools in Dumka district.