COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on school education. It has affected a large number of children across states, classes, caste, gender, and region. The shutting down of schools and the decision of shifting traditional classrooms to digital platforms is not only increasing learning inequality among children but also pushing a large number of children out of school due to the digital divide in the world.
On June 1 Kerala launched its “First Bell’ initiative, a program for statewide digital classes to be held in the homes of children Just as teachers and students would assemble at the peal of the first bell in school, now they were expected to sit before the television/computer/phone (for YouTube and Facebook) Considering the age of children, the broadcast time is fixed as 30 minutes a day for classes 1 to 7 one hour for classes 8 and 9 an hour and a half for class 10 and two hours for class 12 Classes for students of class 11 must wait for results of class 10 public exams, as students would choose their subject streams The transmission is like a regular school week from Monday to Friday, with airtime of 9 hours daily The lessons were re telecast on weekends The timetables for each class are announced in advance through media Continuous content development for the First Bell initiative has been a shared responsibility among the different government agencies Samagra Siksha Kerala ( prepares digital lessons for classes 1 5 6 and 7 KITE prepares lessons for classes 2 and 4 and classes 9 and 10 and SCERT is responsible for developing materials for classes 8 and 12 Digital resources for 52 vocational subjects have also been developed by the vocational higher secondary wing under DGE.
After a year's experience in digital education District Institute of Education and Training has decided to launch a prestigious program PETALS.. This will make a web of teachers, who could come together to support each other in making the digital classes effective. It's a cooperative endeavor by teachers. This platform will help the teachers in preparing digital resources and share them among the teaching community in Kerala. A digital repository of teaching materials is one of its aims. This blog will help teachers to share their knowledge among their fellow teachers.