Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Teachers can go beyond classrooms and school to help their students.

This is exactly what two teachers of Sonamgang MSS in Phuentsholing have done.

After learning that some students didn’t have phones for online classes, the teachers, Chhimi Pelden (the school vice principal) and Pema Chhoki, ventured to finding a solution.

They got in touch with several sponsors from the community and succeeded getting funds.

In June, the duo distributed 16 Samsung Galaxy M01 Core 16 mobile phones to students from Classes IV to X.

One of the recipient parents said she had a tough time managing her children’s online classes with just one phone at home.

“My son is in Class IX and he uses the phone for his online classes. That meant my Class VI-daughter would have to miss her online classes,” she said.“All our problems are solved now.”

She said her husband, a driver, is jobless these days.

Another woman with two children in Classes IV and VIII did not have a phone after her phone got damaged.

“My children went to their friends’ house to learn from online classes,” she said. “Everything is fine now. I would like to thank the teachers for their initiative.”

Chhimi Pelden said they found that one of the reasons why students did not participate in online classes was due to lack of gadgets.

“We volunteered to look for old and useable mobiles. We got in touch with a school management board (SMB) member, a businesswoman, Deki Choden, and asked if she had old and useable mobile phones.”

Deki volunteered to sponsor two phones. Bhutan-India Friendship Association (BIFA) sponsored 14 phones. A mobile shop, Ugyen & Brothers, agreed to supply the phone at a discounted rate of Nu 6,000 each.

Pema Chhoki said many students are still sharing their parents’ phone for online classes and lessons.

“We mostly helped students with single parents who had lost their income during the pandemic,” Pema Chhoki said.

Fundraising by the teachers is underway as some students are still in need of mobile phones. The target is to sponsor 20 students from Classes IV to VIII.

A total of 17 phones are ready. Of the total, a businessman, who is also an SMB member, Krishna Tamang, sponsored 11 phones. Parents and teachers from the school sponsored six more phones.

The phones will be distributed after the lockdown.

Teachers in other schools and individuals in Phuentsholing are also helping the needy students in similar ways.

Phuentsholing has been under lockdown since April 17.

Schools have also been closed since then and students are learning from online classes.

The government also has decided to shift students of Classes IX to XII by August this year. Classes PP to VIII students will continue with education online.

There is government plan to provide tablets to needy students across the country.

About 13,000 needy students could get the tablets if the plan gets through.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk