Salyan schools run alternative classes amid third-wave virus threatThe Education Development and Coordination Unit is planning to run online classes in all 500 community schools in the district.
Community schools in Chhatreswori Rural Municipality, Salyan have started conducting alternative classes since the resumption of physical classes amid the risk of a third wave of Covid-19 is not an option.
“The risk of Covid-19 spread is increasing in the district. As a result, it is not possible to open our classrooms. But we can’t stop conducting classes because schools have to complete the coursework,” said Keshar Oli, education unit chief of the local unit. “The students of community schools in the local unit have been studying regularly through alternative mediums.”
According to him, several community schools in the local unit have started alternative classes since last week. Fifteen community schools have been conducting online classes for the students of grades four to 10, said Oli.
The local unit has distributed ‘Pathshala SIM’, which was provided for free by the Nepal Telecom, to community school children so they can join online classes.
According to Oli, the local unit bears the cost of recharging the SIM cards for students. It provided Rs1.5 million to the community schools for the operation of online classes and buying data and voice packs for the distributed SIMs.
The SIM provided to the students is active from 5am to 5pm.
According to the data available at Chhatreswori Rural Municipality Office, around 1,500 SIMs have been distributed to the students of 15 community schools so far.
“The SIM distribution campaign is underway in other schools as well. Fifteen schools have already started alternative classes while the remaining schools will begin such classes soon,” said Oli.
The local body plans to distribute around 4,000 SIMs to the students of all community schools.
There are altogether 42 schools—40 community schools and two private schools—in Chhatreswori Rural Municipality. All these schools have been operating online classes using Zoom or Messenger apps since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The students are now attending classes with the help of the SIM cards. Those who were deprived of regular classes for several months have greatly benefited from the scheme,” said Lal Singh Oli, the headmaster at Janata Secondary School in Guranse.
While classes between grades 4 and 10 have adopted the alternative learning method, students of grades one to three are taught in their own settlements. Teachers visit each settlement and conduct classes in small groups.
“Our teachers visit the settlements on a regular basis, make a small group and teach the students of grades one to three,” said Kali Bahadur Oli, a teacher at Saraswoti Basic School in Chhatreswori.
The students are also happy with the alternative classes, as they get the opportunity to communicate with teachers.
“Our school remained closed for months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are now learning through alternative classes. Although taking online classes is not as fun as going to school, it ensures we don’t miss out on our academics,” said Namuna Roka, a ninth grader at Janata Secondary School in Ruranse.
There are around 500 community schools in Salyan district. The Education Development and Coordination Unit is planning to run alternative classes in all the schools.
“Alternative classes have been commenced in some schools. Other schools will follow soon,” said Sumnima Maharjan, the information officer at the unit. According to her, around 10,000 SIM cards have been distributed in several schools in the district so far.