SHILLONG: Following the Meghalaya government's nod to online classes, teachers and also students from Classes-IX to XII as well as those pursuing the under-graduate courses are facing a taxing time in the rural areas across the State. As part of the initiative to resume the academic session, the Government has issued a notification stating that the 'online classes' can be started, but the real sufferers are the less-privileged ones and also the villagers as they lack proper mobile services network.
The worst hit are the students from villages located in East Garo Hills, South Garo Hills, West Khasi Hills and South West Khasi Hills.
Moreover, the network is either erratic or unavailable. "Due to the network problem, I have to climb up to a hillock to get a network and listen to the lecture on line," stated a science student of a city college from Nongnam Village of South West Khasi Hills.
In distant places of East Garo Hills and South Garo Hills, there is virtually no network. Even the influential Garo Students Union has taken up the issue with the district authorities. Still the poor mobile services of the network providers has not improved thus making a mockery of the decision to commence the online classes.
What is more, many students do not own mobile phones. By the time their parents return from their daily chores, the only thing they can read is via sharing through the respective Whatsapp group, stated a school teacher from West Khasi Hills on condition of anonimity.
The online education is expecting to take its toll on the students as well as the teaching community. Notwitstanding the general assessment of the government that we have to live with the present pandemic, the students aspiring for better field will suffer. "We are also perplexed in our outreach to students due to many complexitities," stated a senior government school teacher.
Besides ruing the fact that the pandemic will affect the children dearly, the teachers said that they too have no choice but to add each number to their Whatsapp group while taking the online classes.