Online classes through tele-conferencing have failed to kick off in South Dinajpur. Nine empanelled and trained teachers in the district have failed to receive calls from students in the district or outside for the classes, it is learnt. Teachers, on the other hand, have claimed that they had conducted wide awareness and publicity campaigns among the students for the same.

Given the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdowns, the state and central governments have closed all educational institutions. To keep in contact with the students and to help them in their studies, private schools and some government-aided schools have been holding online classes for the last few months. However, students from remote areas in several districts are still suffering, as they lack modern facilities like computers, smart phones and the Internet.

To help such students of remote areas, the state government had started a toll-free number for students of class IX and X to call and talk with teachers about their studies. The aim of this project was to provide help to the students through mobile phones. Nine teachers were selected from South Dinajpur district and they were trained for such tele-conference classes in August. However, almost two months on, only one student has called in the number till date, officials said.

“The aim of this project was very good and we were preparing ourselves for the classes. As per government guidelines, students from any part of the state could call free of cost and directly contact with teachers for any subject-related questions. I received a call in the first week of August, and it was the only call that I have received so far,” Kalyan Das, one of the senior teachers and leader of the All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA), said. “This was a good initiative, but there was no planning. Most of the students don’t know what a toll-free number is. More awareness and wider campaign is needed for the success of this project,” he added.