School to the rescue of underprivileged students

Gosarling teachers initiate mobile teaching to reach the unreached

Chimi Dema  | Tsirang

It is 9am. The otherwise quiet morning at Gosarling gewog centre in Tsirang has come to life with students of the nearby primary school gathering at the centre. A group of Class V and VI students, wearing multi-colored face masks, stand in a queue, waiting to enter the hall. 

A teacher calls out the names. Another checks the body temperature and notes down the readings. In a separate hall, two groups of students of pre-primary to classes II have already settled down to begin their lessons. At the other end of the hall, a group of children repeat the lines of a nursery song after their teacher.

Schools have not opened. But students of Gosarling PS have walked about 2km from the nearby chiwogs to attend, what teachers call “noble teaching.”

The teachers took the initiative since July 1 in an effort to help students with their lessons. They came up with the initiative after finding out less than half of students did not have access to television and internet at home while junior students struggled with Google classroom lessons. An unofficial survey on online education, the school conducted, revealed that about 30 percent of the students did not have access to e-learning at home. 

Principal, Gyeltshen Drukpa said that while teachers went door-to-door to distribute Self Instructional Materials (SIM), students will be accessed for promotion based on key learning. “The mobile teaching lets teachers and students interact better. Students could also get proper guidance based on the assessment,” he said.

Teachers said that some students couldn’t be connected online. Some parents had sent their children to other dzongkhags. 

A teacher, Phub Rinzin said this made it difficult for teachers to meet and interact on SIM prior to the introduction of mobile teaching. 

A Class V student said that although she could continue her education online, she couldn’t get proper guidance in absence of such an interaction.

 “Coming to the centre two days a week and getting guidance from my teachers is helpful,” she said. 

Today, the school’s eight teachers divide themselves into two groups and visit the Dzomlingthang early childhood care and development centre in Changchey, besides the gewog centre on Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

The school has 105 students. Except for one class VI student, all students were present for mobile teaching. 

On Mondays and Tuesdays, the local cable operator, on the request from school, broadcast the e-learning lessons for students who have missed or not understood the lessons in their first attempt. For students without television at home, teachers repeat the lessons during classes using their laptops. 

On Fridays, school officials meet to review the initiative and discuss the way forward. Principal Gyeltshen Drukpa said that teaching sessions are carried out following proper safety protocols.

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