Education is one of the sectors which has borne the maximum brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic. In Assam the government has closed down all education institutions since March 16 and all activities in the schools were under lockdown since March 23.

While online classes has proved to be an alternative to classroom teaching, DIET (District Institute for Education and Training), Titabar here supported by Unicef is looking to reach out to thousands of students in nooks and corners of the state, who do not have access to a digital learning platform.

Krishna Dutta Deka, senior lecturer DIET, and coordinator of the DIET-Unicef project said that the target group was mostly children of the tea garden community living in remote, inaccessible areas.

“Tea garden managements are lagging behind in providing support to their schools to mitigate the Covid-19 impact on education of the children. This may be due to lack of resources or professional expertise. Moreover, capacity of teachers in tea garden management schools is also a concern in promoting digital platforms, “Deka said

She said that recently they had distributed books to these children in Udalguri, Golaghat districts and Upper primary school children in Jorhat.

Deka said that the home based learning materials have been divided in three versions, Home Learning Material 1 for Classes 1 and 2, Home Learning Material 2 for Classes 3 to 5 and Home Learning Material 3 for Classes 6 to 8.

A digitised version of the material was on the anvil for children who have digital devices. Her voice will be given to the poems and other material, if required.

“The USP of the materials is that they can learn without the help of teachers. The books have been developed under the guidance of Uttam Kumar Bordoloi, former Principal, DIET, who initiated the Multi Grade Multilevel Teaching Methodology in Jorhat district,” she said.

“The pandemic situation has confined students to open schooling within the home environment. It has promoted the idea of home as an ideal centre of learning where the learners can learn without any compulsion. Our experience with multi grade and multi level approach has convinced us to stick to independent learning where the teachers provide help as and when necessary,” Deka said.

Another highlight was evolving of the materials to meet individual needs with incorporation of specific culture (language).

“Providing psycho-social support to the children and their families is also part of the package,” Deka further said.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com