– Mita Mukherjee
The West Bengal government will give free tablets to 9.5 lakh students of government-aided higher secondary schools and Madrasas to make the online classes accessible to students, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Thursday.
“We (state government) will give tablets to 9.5 lakh students of all state-aided Higher Secondary schools and Madrasas. There are nearly 14,000 state-aided Higher Secondary schools and 636 government-funded Madrasas. Every student will get the tablets so that they can follow the online classes,” the chief minister said at a press conference held at the state secretariat Nabanna.
A large number of students, particularly in the rural areas are not able to attend the online classes conducted by the schools for not having a smart device at home. The state government has decided to distribute tablets to ensure that all students can regularly follow the online teaching.
“Schools are closed because of Covid-19. The online classes are going on. There are students coming from families who do not have a computer or laptop or even a smartphone at home. These students will be able to access the online classes on regular basis, the chief minister said.
The chief minister did not explain students of which class would be given the tablets.
A senior official in the state school education department said after the announcement that students studying in Class XII in the state-aided higher secondary schools and the Madrasas will get the free tablets.
However, according to the headmaster of a school in Kolkata poor students, particularly in the rural areas were facing difficulties in accessing the online classes not just because of not having a smart device but also due to lack access to internet facilities.
“Students can utilize the tablets properly if they get uninterrupted internet facilities,” the headmaster said.
The chief minister said along with distributing 9.5 lakh tablets, the government will also provide a computer to each state-aided school for conducting the online classes.
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