As the country remains under lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic, virtual classes will be held on a private television channel for students of standards 9-12 of the West Bengal boards for a week beginning April 7, an official told PTI on Sunday.  The classes, which will be broadcast by ABP Ananda, will be held from 3 pm to 4 pm, he said.

“The TV channel’s studio will be converted into a classroom. Students will ask questions to the teachers through WhatsApp and phone calls, numbers for which will be given before the classes start,” the official told PTI.

The state government earlier decided to hold the classes on DD Bangla from 4-5 pm but the plan was shelved as a section of students and teachers raised objection on the timing and there were logistical issues on shifting it to another slot on the same channel.

“The government is actively working to enable students to make up for the time lost since the suspension of classes on March 16. There was some uncertainty after the initial decision, but it is final now,” the official said.

However, The Telegraph reports, the official said many teachers and heads of state-aided schools in remote rural areas had complained that a large number of students would not benefit from the classes because either electricity had not reached their homes or they did not have a TV set.

The Bengal government had recently declared that it had achieved 100 per cent rural electrification. But many families in remote villages in the state have not yet applied for electricity connection because they cannot afford to pay the bill, an official in the power department said. Many who have got electricity connection do not have a TV set at home. “In such a situation, it is not possible to start virtual classes through DD Bangla,” an official told The Telegraph.

The state has reported 80 cases of coronavirus and three deaths till now.