Disruption of normal high school education in an attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19 have impacted hundreds of thousands of students in the hill districts of Manipur. The temporary closures of educational institutions in the country has led to the implementation of online education model.
The four issues faced by students in rural villages in Northeast India are affordably of the hardware – access to smartphones, internet connectivity, data pack recharge (It cost money to recharge data pack), and the fourth crucial element to online class model, electricity. These four factors are indispensable to attend online classes. India has the lowest data prices in the world, even that can be high enough for students and families in villages.
About 100 students studying outside Ngahui village, including teachers in Ukhrul headquarters returned during the lock down from April till date. Almost all the schools have adopted online class. However due to constant network disruption, normal online class has proved unreliable. Irregularities in power supply takes the bigger share. These are not power outages. It’s a complete shutdown of electricity for days, sometimes weeks.
Since most of student’s parents in Ngahui village are illiterate farmers, their children are left unattended to largely. Under these circumstances, students of the reverse migration category, if that is an acceptable term, have a lot more leisure time. But that has it’s downside. Some indulge in sports, social service, church activities but quite a few fall prey to intoxication.
Taking all this into consideration the Ngahui Student Fellowship (NSF) initiated a localized model of education for the 90% students returnees. Classes for these students commenced on August 17 with due approval from Covid-19 Committee and Village Authority. Under this initiative, NSF has 18 teachers attending to Class I to XII students in the village.
Ngahui village has no infrastructure as such, hence NSF utilize village youth hall, Shanao Long office (Women Union), community hall and even vacant resident room as class room with strict SOP in place. Study hour for students for morning 7:00am to 9:00am. Evening 3:00pm to 5:00pm every day except on Saturday evening and Sunday.
NSF volunteers teaches select chapters on core concepts on maths, science, social sciences and grammar with inputs and consultation from educationist. A weekly test is conducted every Monday, and two subjects home assignment everyday. Two main exams will be conduct in September and November before winter break.
For all these a minimal of ₹200 per student is charged as fees, for basic teaching needs for teacher’s mask, hand sanitizer etc. Nagahui village is a green zone with zero Covid-19 cases.