Online class trouble: Study ‘link’ of 70,000 students from BMC schools goes missing

The pandemic has created an unprecedented upheaval in the education arena. More than 60,000 to 70,000 students from BMC-run schools have failed to stay connected with their studies via the online medium. As a result, the BMC’s education department is concerned about the effectiveness of online teaching. According to the civic education department, nearly 30,000 students have migrated with their families to their native places, making them ‘untraceable’. Also, 45,000 students from the city have no access to digital platforms.

During the lockdown, BMC teachers were asked to keep the students engaged by assigning them learning activities via WhatsApp and YouTube. The students were also urged to make use of Diksha app, developed by National Council of Teacher Education, which offers chapter-wise content and activities.

According to the BMC education department, the migrant exodus during the lockdown displaced around 1.15 lakh (21%) of the total students enrolled in civic and private primary schools in Mumbai.

Mahesh Palkar, BMC education officer said that it was disheartening to see our poor students not having access to online classes, when students across the world are learning via online classes. “Currently, there are 45,000 students in the city who do not have access to the online platform. We are ensuring that not a single child is left out. We will provide them worksheets very soon. We have also approached NGOs who can help us get spare phones or workout some way to ensure these students get access to online classes,” Palkar said.

He added that they have initiated a plan wherein every school has a committee comprising parents, principal, and representatives of NGOs. “They meet online at least once every 15 days to ensure all students are able to access online activities,” he said. Officials are worried that the exodus of migrant workers will lead to a huge number of poor students dropping out of school.

The BMC is providing worksheets to those students who do not have access to smartphones or internet connections.

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Free Press Journal