The people of Mugwari village, of Sidhi district, have been fiercely opposing the government’s order to conduct online classes for the upcoming session. Many villagers said that they are financially incapable of affording a smartphone during this lockdown.
“During this pandemic, we are finding it difficult to even arrange two meals for a day to my family,” said Ravindra Singh, a landless farmer, whose two children study in Government High School, in Madwa. “To be honest I do not have enough money to afford a touchscreen phone,” he said.
He further said that he has been out of work since the lockdown started. “To purchase a smartphone, I need to take a loan from my landlord with a huge interest amount.”
Prakash (name changed), a teacher in a Madwa high school, said, “In my school, the financial conditions of some students are so bad. Their parents are not in a condition to afford a smartphone worth ₹6,000 to ₹7,000. The government’s plan to conduct online classes would badly impact some students.”
Recently, the Madhya Pradesh government launched an online training program, for 2.7 lakhs teachers, to equip them with tools to take online classes. Minister Tulsi Ram Silawat during the launching of the training program, said, “In this era of internet, smartphones, and digitisation, we can’t merely depend on traditional methods of learning and teaching.”
“As the world is going through a lot of changes and classes are being shifted to online platforms, the school education department has launched the skill enhancement program for children and teachers,” he added.