Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the State government has a multi-pronged strategy to enhance the online schooling system necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chief minister said that steps have been taken to ensure gadgets for all students and also for ensuring proper internet connectivity throughout the State.
Vijayan said on Saturday that students belonging to the Adivasi community will be prioritised for online education. He said that study rooms will be set up at every Adivasi 'ooru' (hamlet), besides providing gadgets and giving training for students and their parents on how to use them.
"Though not similar, almost every school in the state has students who are without gadgets and are unable to afford one," said the chief minister.
Vijayan added that the state had a fruitful meeting with service providers, who have ensured that connectivity will be strengthened throughout the state.
Vijayan said that the state recommends a laptop or a tablet instead of smartphones considering the latter could be used by other members of the family.
"The State government has found that there are families that cannot afford any gadget while there are others that do not have the means at the moment and for such families, interest-free loans will be provided. The KSFE has already announced a scheme in this regard," said the chief minister.
The chief minister also appealed to the parents who can afford more than one gadget to buy one for a student in need.
The State government has urged parent-teacher organisations to take the initiative of preparing a list of students at the school itself. Vijayan claimed that committees will be set up starting at the school level and a comprehensive list of students needing gadgets will be prepared at the state level.
Chief Minister's Educational Empowerment Fund set up
The chief minister said that a subsidiary of the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) called Chief Minister's Educational Empowerment Fund has been set up to receive donations for buying gadgets for students who cannot afford one.
Vijayan said that the efforts were intended not just to provide gadgets for all students, but to empower the State's education system and linking it up with a global education network. "These efforts will enhance our education system in the long run," said Vijayan.
Meeting with companies selling gadgets
The chief minister said that the State has planned a meeting with the companies selling gadgets. "We will request them to offer gadgets at low rates, preferably at fixed rates. The State will remind them that it is for the benefit of the society," said Vijayan.
"Efforts will also be taken to ensure safe browsing for the students who will be using these gadgets," said the chief minister.