Shantiniketan’s ‘open air’ classes started in Tripura amid Covid-19 pandemic

Classes under shade of trees, reminding one of education in Viswa Bharati University at Shantiniketan in West Bengal, started in Tripura from Thursday.

Over one lakh students across the smallest states in north-eastern India participated in open air class rooms from Thursday, officials said.

There are total 27,000 teachers serving at 4,400 government schools attended these open air schools.

A recent survey conducted by Education Department had found that 94,013 students don’t have any kind of phones and 1,42,238 students don’t have cable TV network to take classes on television.

To overcome these issues, the Education Department started the ‘ neighbourhood classes’ with 1:5 teacher-student ratio for all students especially those who can’t afford or access online studies.

The survey also found that there are 3,22,297 students studying in Grade I to VIII in different government schools of the state. Of the total, 1,11,618 students have smartphones, 1,16,666 have ordinary mobile phones and 1,80,059 have cable network in their homes.

Total 1,96,389 students could access internet in their smartphones.

In the beginning of the classes, teachers dedicate 10 minutes to make students aware about Covid-19 and suggest precautionary measures to them including wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer and others.

“All the students have to wear face masks and use hand sanitizer during the classes. We have asked the teachers not to force any parents who are not interested to send their children to neighbourhood classes,” said Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath.

He added that they would seek opinions of the parents and teachers soon about the neighbourhood classes.

Earlier, the state Education Department launched online classes, video lecture sessions in local TV channels, SMS based classes, Students’ Helpline Call Centre for the students after Covid-19 lockdown was imposed since March.

The state reduced 50% syllabus of Bengali, English and Social Science Studies and 40% of Science, Mathematics and Environmental Science for classes 3 to 8 in the pandemic.

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