No Internet, school comes home in rural Sikkim -Esha Roy

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published Published on Aug 24, 2020   modified Modified on Aug 24, 2020

-The Indian Express

While the Sikkim government has launched the Sikkim Edutech App to help students from Class 9-12 cope with the learning loss, it's the junior students and those in far flung areas who were left with little support.

Sometime in April, with Covid forcing schools shut, Indra Mukhi Chhetri, a maths and science teacher in a rural area of South Sikkim district, began worrying about her students. While schools were expected to conduct online classes, Chhetri knew that would be a non-starter considering these were areas with little or no phone connectivity, let alone Internet.

“I was really worried. The people in my village are mostly farmers, very poor. This makes education an even bigger priority for children in these areas than those in urban centres,’’ says Chhetri, who teaches at the VCGL Senior Secondary School in Ravangla.

So every day, Chhetri begins her rounds of the village at 9 am, visiting her students “one by one” and taking impromptu classes — maths to science and English to general knowledge.

While the Sikkim government has launched the Sikkim Edutech App to help students from Class 9-12 cope with the learning loss, it’s the junior students and those in far flung areas who were left with little support.

It’s into this vacuum that teachers such as Chhetri have stepped in to ensure that children don’t miss out on learning. As more teachers reached out to their students, visiting them personally with resources, word spread of the simple, yet effective, teaching programme, all the way up to Gangtok. Last month, when the lockdown was lifted, the government formally adopted the programme, calling it “home-schooling for elementary education”.

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The Indian Express, 24 August, 2020, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/no-internet-school-comes-home-in-rural-sikkim-6567160/


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