To make sure students don't miss out on education due to the lockdown, the state education department has started virtual classes for students on Monday. The virtual classes are available on YouTube or through the government-run education channel, Kite Victers. Classes are held on weekdays for an estimated 45 lakh students studying in government and government-aided schools.
According to the Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education (KITE) time table, classes will be held from 8.30 am to 5.30 pm on weekdays for classes 1 to 12, except class 11 on the channel.
For those without access to the internet, laptop or computer, the online sessions named 'First Bell' are streamed through the Kite Victers channel. The channel is available for free on cable networks, over the internet and direct-to-home (DTH).
However, according to a study conducted by the General Education Department, nearly 2.6 lakh students in government and aided schools in the state did not have access to television with cable connection or computer/mobile phone with Internet, reported Manorama News.
To facilitate classes for these students who have no access to the internet or television, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday evening announced that Neighbourhood Study Centres will be set up.
These centres will be set up in local bodies where children have no access to modern communication tools. The centres will have a television, through which the Victers channel can be aired. Social distancing norms will be followed while accommodating the students.
"Those who have lost the classes today need not worry. This is a trial one. After a week, there would be repeat telecast of classes, The expense for launching neighbourhood study centres would be borne by Kerala State Financial Enterprises (KSFE) and local-self-governing bodies," the CM said.
KSFE will subsidise 75 per cent of the cost of the new television set in these centres, the CM said.
KITE said that 1.2 lakh laptops, 7,000 projectors and over 4,500 TV sets had been readied for students who need them on a trial basis.
"We have entrusted the class teachers and school headmasters or principals to make sure that students have access to a television or a smartphone or a computer, and Internet for the classes. If not, they should find an alternative for the students to attend the online classes either in real-time or later," Director of Public Instruction (DPI), K Jeevan Babu, was quoted as saying by The News Minute.