As part of the government’s Vidyagama programme, which is aimed at engaging schoolchildren in continuous learning, the Hassan district department of public instruction (DDPI) found that 75% of children didn’t have internet connectivity.
For the survey, the department made three categories of students of both private and government schools. The first group is students who neither have internet access nor mobile phones; the second is those who have only mobile phones but not internet access and the third one of students having smartphones with net access.
DDPI Prakash said there are 1,60,540 students up to Class 10 in Hassan district. Of these, 80,072 students are in the first category, while 39,447 in the second (both these groups don’t have net access).
Of eight taluks, Channarayapatna reports the highest percentage of students (88%) not having internet access (12,163 students of the total 13,796). This is followed by Arkalgud with 86.6% (12,018 against 13,867) and Belur with 84.1% (10,732 against 12,749), said Prakash.
Though Hassan taluk has more students, Arasikere has more students with internet facility. In Arasikere, 38.6% of students (12,820 against 33,185) have internet access. This is followed by Holenarsipur with 27% (6,195 against 22,885), and Hassan taluk with 26.3% (12,737 against 48,499).
“To overcome the shortcomings of the first category, a subject teacher is asked to meet students at their houses once or twice a week and give them assignments for the coming week. For the second group, assignments are given at 9am through voice or text messages, and they will be checked at 6pm,” Prakash added.
In the countryside of Sakleshpur, houses are scattered, with most of them being half a kilometre apart. To reach the nearby government high school, students in Raxidi village have to trek 6km. Four centres have been set up in the village and around 30 students can gather there and follow Covid-19 protocol. “One or two government teachers conduct classes for 2-3 hours here,” said Prasad Raxidi, a drama teacher at Rangamandira in the village.