Neten Dorji | Tarphel
Every weekday at 8am, teachers of Tarphel Primary School in Trashiyangtse set off into the villages carrying learning materials seeking their students.
Without television or mobile network in Pangkhar, Tarphel, Cheng, Longkhar and Panglewog villages in Tarphel chiwog, the teachers have been providing learning materials and lessons to students in the villages since the schools closed on March 27.
Teachers are divided into five groups and they move around the villages in the morning and return back by afternoon to prepare for the next day. Students are monitored on their daily tasks.
Teachers said they have decided to reach out learning materials to doorstep after a government order to close school for the prevention of Covid-19.
“In a day, we provide learning materials of two subjects to all 120 students. On the third day, we go for collection with other subject materials,” said a teacher, Cheki Wangchuk.
The teachers came up with this initiative to keep their students engaged. Each subject teacher visits all five villages at least once in a week.
Another teacher, Kinzang Wangdi said the school also sent students home with reading books from the library. Without internet services, the teachers decided to provide students with learning materials and visiting them at home to guide them every day.
Since most of the parents are illiterate farmers, teachers said they have difficulty guiding their children with their lessons. However, they listen to teachers and ensure their children are at home when the teachers arrive to deliver their lessons.
However, a few sometimes miss their lessons, while they visit their grandparents who tend to their livestock at their camps in the jungle.
The neighbours coax those parents for wasting the teachers time and efforts. “A few parents do not understand the hardship of these teachers. I used to tell my friends to keep children at home all the time,” a villager said.
She said she makes sure her children ask many questions to the teacher to clear their doubts.
“Without access to internet services and television, it is an extra burden for teachers, said Karma Dechen Wangmo, a mother of three. “It would be easier for teachers and students if the government could provide internet network.”
“Teacher bring learning materials to our doorstep. They clear the doubts and guide our children. They remain engaged at home while we are in the field,” she said.
A student, Pema Wangdi said that he was happy to be with his family during the Covid-19 pandemic but that he was worried about the examination. “It is better in the classroom where I can clear the doubts with teachers and friends.”
He keeps engaged in reading books after he has done his assignments and homework.
Another student, Sonam Dorji said it has affected his studies as he has to do household chores and sometimes he has to go out for cattle herding.
“Teachers provide learning materials to us, but we don’t get enough time because we need to help parents too. I am worried about what I will write in the exam.”
To access the internet, those students studying in higher classes remain with their relatives in Trashiyangtse town learning through Google classroom and television.
Meanwhile, a dzongkhag education official said that their office is yet to receive additional Self Instructional Materials (SIM) from the education ministry. They would distribute to remaining students who don’t have internet services and television facilities at home.