Govt. colleges begin online classes

Teachers want telecast of lessons on a TV channel as not all students can afford data connection

Teachers want telecast of lessons on a TV channel as not all students can afford data connection

The first day of online classes on Monday for second and third year students of undergraduate programmes in government colleges was one of its kind.

The students listened to their teachers on their mobile phones and laptops. For the teachers too it was a unique experience.

“It was the first day of online interaction [due to COVID-19 pandemic] and we had three hours of orientation for the new semester,” said a government college teacher. According to a teacher, the attendance was around 50% to 70%. “We will start full session from tomorrow (Tuesday),” the professor added.

But teachers’ associations have appealed to the State higher education department officials to consider telecasting classes on a TV channel instead.

The Government College Teachers Manram, in its letter to the Chief Minister, the Higher Education Minister and the department officials on Sunday pointed out that many students would not have sufficient Internet data on their phone to participate in online classes.

Like many students, who are yet to grasp the magnitude of the change, D. Shyam Sundar, a third year B. Com., student from Erode Arts and Science College, found the first day experience interesting.

“It was good. We had three one-hour sessions. All of us attended. The teacher informed us of the syllabus and who would be our teachers. We were told about the classes that would be conducted,” he said and added that he participated in the class via his mobile phone.

Not all can afford

“I was not able to concentrate as there is disturbance. Notifications pop up and they distract my attention,” he said. He has 1.5 GB data on his phone and said he would exhaust half of it in just one day’s college session. “It is a pre-paid phone and my father pays ₹250. He has taken a 50% pay cut and I cannot ask him to increase my phone allowance,” he said.

Shyam’s friends work part-time. “If it gets tougher then I too would have to find a job to pay for online classes,” said Shyam, who wants to continue his studies after completing undergraduate course.

On Monday, the Association of University Teachers joined hands with the GCTM. The central executive of the association in its meeting resolved that the online classes should be considered supplementary and not a substitute for regular classroom experience. The association pointed out that it would cooperate with the government but added that there were issues such as affordability and connectivity for students.

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