In order to improve student's participation, several districts in Jharkhand have incorporated a flexible schedule to conduct online classes. The teachers have opted to organise classes in the early morning or late in the evening when it becomes convenient for students to access smartphones.
With the classes switching to virtual mode, children have been struggling to take online classes and appear for examinations in the absence of smartphones, other digital gadgets, and internet connectivity.
Children belonging to the marginalised groups studying in the government schools raised concerns about having only one phone which remains unavailable when their parents have to go out to work.
Over 65 per cent of students enrolled with government schools do not have access to digital classes, according to the data furnished by the government. Hence, classes for over 42 lakh students (from Class 1 to Class 12) were started on WhatsApp and Doordarshan, reported The New Indian Express.
Taking cognisance of the matter, the government conducted a survey and came to the conclusion that flexible teaching hours could improve the participation rate. The publication reported that the idea is yielding results as the state education department recorded a spike in attendance by more than 20 per cent in each class.
"Now, teachers have started conducting online classes in the evening after 6 pm and early in the morning before 9 am, which actually has worked, resulting into a significant increase in attendance of students," Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC) Director Sailesh Chaurasia told The New Indian Express.
"Besides the availability of smartphones, another problem was being faced by households having one or more children. As classes were being conducted at the same time, only one child was able to attend classes while another had to skip it even if he or she did not want to miss it. Now, we fix the timing as per the convenience of the children; one child attends class in the morning while another attends it in the evening," said Principal of Government Middle School, Bariatu in Ranchi Naseem Ahmed.