An NGO gifts smartphones to school students in Aarey Colony, Mumbai
An NGO gifts smartphones to school students in Aarey Colony, Mumbai

In an attempt to enhance online education imparted to students studying in Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools, members of the BMC education committee have suggested provision of technical facilities, local offline classes and monitoring of efforts taken by teachers.

On the other hand, the civic education department said they have not received any direction from the state government to provide smartphones, computers, laptops, or internet services to students in their homes for online learning.

In the first offline meeting conducted on Thursday since the imposition of a nationwide lockdown in March, BMC education committee members suggested that the civic education department should conduct a survey to find out how many students do not have access to virtual classes.

Al-Nasser Zakaria, professor and member of the committee, said, "Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic situation, there are many students who come from economically weak backgrounds who do have smartphones to access online education. The BMC administration should allocate funds to provide these technical facilities to needy students."

On the other hand, another committee member on request of anonymity said, "Instead of providing technical facilities, we are encouraging teachers to use certain offline methods such as provision of books, worksheets, homework exercises, practical assignments, tele-counselling and even home visits if possible to keep a ground check on whether students are coping with distance learning."

In addition, Zakaria said, "We should monitor the quality of teaching imparted to students. Digital learning itself is a very new concept for students so maybe we can curtail the syllabus or try to ensure that even if students are promoted, they get their basic elements of their learning of those particular subjects in place."

The civic education department said they have not received any direction from the state government to provide smartphones, computers or laptops to students for online education.

Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer, said, "We are trying our best to ensure that online education reaches all students. We are initiating both offline and online teaching-learning methods. We have not received any direction from the state government to provide smartphones or computers to students for online learning."

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