SIM keeps children in rural areas home

Neten Dorji | Trashiyangtse

Jigdrel Dorji, a class six student of Melongkhar primary school, was stuck at home without television and mobile phone since the schools closed on March 27.

He read books while his friends learned lessons from television and mobile phones.

Today, he is engaged with activities given in SIM (self-instruction materials).

“Now I need not worry about e-learning. I can learn lessons even without television or a mobile phone,” he said.

There are eight students in Melongkhar PS who most need SIM. The school ensures that they get them.

Teachers instruct and guide the students by calling them alternatively to schools from four villages, Melongkhar, Chema, Namthey, and Yerphey.

Officiating Principal, Leki Dorji, said the school had sent other reading materials from library to keep the students engaged.

The school has printed and provided SIM to all 53 students. Original copy of SIM is yet to arrive.

Teachers said when they run out of data, they had to travel to Thragom, three hours away from their villages.

“Worried that their children could be left out, some parents are supportive,” said a teacher.

Teachers are planning to go door-to-door to monitor students.

One of the teacher said that SIM had clear instruction, contents, activities and certain concepts covered in e-learning. “Students with SIM can be monitored by elder siblings in higher classes, non-formal instructors, educated parents and even by student’s friends,” he said.

Another teacher said that SIM was mainly developed to keep students engaged in wake of Covid -19. “SIM was developed at basic level but gives extra activities in depth to learn more.”

Without television, Phurpa Choden, class six students, said she have to visit her friend’s and learning through television. “We now have SIM home and do the task daily,” she said, adding it was useful for those who do not have mobile and television facilities.

She said that sometimes learning from television was difficult due to pace.

But Chador Wangmo, another student, said, “It is difficult to understand without regular guidance at home. My sister helps me but most of the time she also engaged in Google classroom.”

Chimi Zangmo keeps her daughter with her friends while she goes for farm work. “We cannot help them with their daily lesson, but we let them study,” she said. “I am worried about their studies. Most of the time they are playing.”

SIM was developed primary to facilitate education to the students living in the remote areas without mobile and television facilities.

One of the students said, even they are provided self-instruction materials it is difficult to understand for them.  But we are told do.

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