Tripura started online classes through pre-recorded videos, telecast in cable television Credit: Representational image

Agartala: The Tripura education department has failed to reach out to 94,013 students in the elementary level as they did not have access to cable television and mobile phones to attend online classes amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

A survey conducted by the Tripura New Disha (new direction) cell under ‘Ektu Khelo Ektu Poro’ in 3,974 schools, 94,013 students (29%) did not have access to online classes amid the lockdown.

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Speaking with EastMojo, education minister Ratan Lal Nath said the educational institutions have been closed since March 16 due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus. The state government took several initiatives to continue classes using different methods.

“We started online classes through pre-recorded videos, telecast in cable television, ‘ektu khelo ektu poro’ programmes which did not require smartphones to reach as many students as possible,” Nath said.

He also said that a survey was conducted by the education department among the 3,22,298 students in government schools in Tripura from class I to VIII, which revealed that only 1,11,618 students have access to smartphones, 1,16,666 students have normal phones and 94,013 had no mobile phone.

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“The survey also found that 1,25,908 students had no access to internet connection and 1,42,238 students had no cable connection. It was also found that there are 1,96,389 students who have internet connection and 1,60,059 students with cable connection. On an average 61 percent of students had internet facilities and 56 percent have cable connections,” Nath said.

He also said among all the districts, 2,173 students in Khowai district did not have access to mobile phone, which is the lowest, while North Tripura had the highest 22,605 students without any phone access, followed by Sepahijala with 18,833 students, Dhalai with 13,999 students and West Tripura with 13,909 students deprived from access to mobile phone.

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“We have observed that 29% of students could not attend classes due to lockdown. Therefore we have decided to start ‘neighbourhood classes’ from August 18 in 5:1 teacher ration to ensure that each one of them is covered by the teachers,” Nath said.

He also said that the teacher would sit with 4 to 5 students in an open space or ground in the neighbourhood maintaining social distancing. The classes would continue till the reopening of schools.

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