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Online teaching leaves lakhs of Odisha rural children’s education in the lurch

By Our Representative
In a virtual discussion organized under Mission 3-5-8, a nationwide campaign on education, experts urged the Odisha government to focus on school infrastructure amidst lockdown as an opportunity to start remedial classes to help weaker students learn faster and be like other students.
Organised by the Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha, Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha and the Atmashakti Trust, with 100 civil society organization (CSO) participating, Ghasiram Panda of Action Aid and advisor on Right to Education (RTE) to the Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, Covid had made one comprehend once that we are far behind in fulfilling the norms and standards for our schools as envisaged in RTE.
“School infrastructure should be seen as a stand alone factor, designed to see as community resource centre as in most of the villages these are the only infrastructure to be used in any disaster”, Panda told the webinar, adding, “Lack of required school infrastructure and woes of online education that has left lakhs of rural children’s education in the lurch.”
Participants said, children, mostly from the poor-families studying in government-run schools, are the worst sufferers as their learning has taken a halt. Though state governments have offered several online classes, both teachers and students are facing challenges as there is an absence of physical classrooms and proper digital infrastructure. There is disparity in access from smartphones, computer, electricity and internet connections.
School and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash claimed, more than 20 lakh children were attending the online classes offered by the government, which is 33.33% of the total. However, data from the secondary sources claim that only 6 lakh children had benefited from the programme. This suggests, online classes cannot ensure the education of all children, especially marginalised children.

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