Tv network

In Karad, a municipal school uses the local cable television network to broadcast lessons for students

The brightly painted classroom at Karad Municipal School No. 3 in Satara District has now been transformed into a full-fledged studio, filled with focus lights.

Since July 1, teachers have been coming to school on a schedule, as they would have for a normal class in pre-Covid times.

They teach lessons using the whiteboard and markers, in front of a professionally controlled camera. Then the videos are broadcast for the students on the local cable television network.

This setup has relieved dozens of students from Patan and Karad talukas from the inconvenience of online learning despite most missing gadgets like computers and smart phones along with proper internet connection.

The initiative is sponsored by two supporters of the school, living in Karad. Medical shop owner Salim Mujawar and local junior college co-founder Vijay Lagade have volunteered to bear the cost of Rs 22,000 per month to broadcast the sessions attended by the teachers on cable TV .

This way, students don’t have to wait for a decent internet connection to watch video lessons on cell phones or computers.

The school was given a four-hour slot on cable, with lessons airing two hours in the morning and rebroadcasting in the evening. From 10:30 a.m., 30 minutes of lectures are broadcast for students in classes III to VII. “If on a particular day we broadcast for one set of classes, then the next day we will have broadcasts for the other classes. In this way, we aim to cover all students in classes III to VII,” Principal Arjun Koli said.

Harsha Kumbhar, a parent and chairman of the school’s management committee, said his son, who is studying in Class IV, has started watching lessons for upper graders. “My son is about to take the state scholarship exams and the content is helping him prepare for it. With online education, internet connection and small fonts on the cell phone screen were once a problem,” she said.

The school is known to have the largest number of pupils among the schools in the city council – almost 2,500. However, the broadcast on cable television covers the whole of the talukas of Patan and Karad, reaching around 50 000 students, Koli said.

Karad City Council has 10 schools under its jurisdiction. “Since our videos are created in a semi-English format, students of all mediums from zilla parishad and private schools have the opportunity to watch them,” Koli added.

Before deciding to use cable television to support children’s education, the school interviewed parents associated with the school. It revealed that 59% of parents had Android phones, while cable TV was available for 72% of them. Additionally, 95% of parents had an Android phone or TV.

For students who cannot watch the videos on TV, the school uploads them to its YouTube channel. Some students who don’t have both – cable television and an Internet connection – travel to their peers to attend classes. So far, the school has prepared 32 videos. For students in grades I and II, teachers resorted to sending songs, activities and stories to parents via WhatsApp. Over the past three months, the school has used various platforms such as Zoom, YouTube and Facebook Live to connect with parents and students.

The initiative was taken by the school after being encouraged by school commissioner Vishal Solanki, Koli said. “Our school’s new academic year was virtually ushered in by Minister Varsha Gaikwad and officials from the School Education Department. That’s when Solanki encouraged us to try different options,” the manager said.