Malkangiri/Keonjhar: With schools and colleges remaining closed in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, many educational institutions in Odisha have already started to conduct online classes for their students. However, the online classes are allegedly out of bounds for most of the students in rural areas of the State.
Many students in the rural belt of Keonjhar district expressed their inability to afford smart phone to attend the online classes. On the other hand, those who have smart phones have to trek long stretch and climb atop hill to catch the network as the mobile network is very poor in Krushnapur village.
“Our village does not have mobile network coverage. The signal quality is good on the hill. Therefore, my brother has constructed a temporary shed for me. We come to the hill everyday and attend the online classes,” Binita Majhi, a girl student of the village said.
During sunny days, the students of Krushnapur village which comes under Telkoi block, reach the hilly areas to attend the online classes. However, they miss the classes when it rains.
"Many students do not have smart phones. So they attend their classes through my smartphone," said Pan Majhi, a Plus II student of a Bhubaneswar-based college.
The situation is no different in Bonda Hills, the settlement of Bonda tribe in Malkangiri district where students struggle to attend the online classes.
“I do not have a smart phone and our village do not have network coverage. As the school remained closed, I stopped studies and now helping my father in agriculture work,” said a student in Bonda Hills.
“Now, students are attending online classes, but our areas do not have mobile network. How will we study. Though some classes are telecast in TV, we need to clear our doubts by calling the teachers which is not possible without proper network,” said a girl student of Swabhiman Anchal.
Umesh Sethi, Malkangiri district education officer admitted that network issue has hampered the online classes of students in the region. "Due to network issue, there is problem in imparting online education. Despite that about 40 to 45 per cent students attend the classes in the district,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government has slashed the syllabus by 30 per cent in view of the pandemic. However, questions are being raised as to how the students who cannot attend the online classes can compete with those who are attending the classes regularly.