Even as primary and middle schools continue to remain shut amid the covid-19 pandemic in Maharashtra, a teacher from a zilla parishad school in a remote village of Jalna district has ensured that his students get access to virtual education.
When the pandemic-induced lockdown was announced in March, 2020, online education became a need of the hour, forcing schools and teachers to adopt different technologies to reach out to students.
For Pentu Maisanwad, a teacher at a government-run school in the dusty hamlet of Dahifal Bhogane in Partur tehsil, the challenge was to get his students access to proper devices and internet.
"We found it difficult to purchase devices, and to add to that there were network issues in the village. Parents could not shell out money to buy tablets and some of them didn't even own a simple phone," says the 38-year-old teacher.
"I had to convince parents and local residents that the lockdown time cannot be wasted and there should be no roadblocks to learning," he says.
Thanks to contribution by the locals, all 27 children in the primary school (Classes 1 to 4) now have tablets, and three dongles have been set up at different places to give students access to internet, he elaborates.
Various subjects are being taught through applications such as Google Meet and WhatsApp.
With the help of his colleague S. U. Gaikwad, Maisanwad also organises "nukud" classes and teaches children on the premises of a temple in the village.