When virtual teaching is a real help.

A first-of-its-kind project in India.

When Manjeet, a Class XII student from Balachaur, entered the Government Senior Secondary School Langroya Nawanshahar to attend a 45-day free pre-medical test crash course, she was in for a shock. For someone who had not even taken a real tuition in her life, to see a teacher giving virtual lectures through the computer was not easy to get used to.  

Deepak Kumar delivers a biology lecture at the Edusat Hub studio in Mohali
students of the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Bathinda, take the help of Edusat programme.
Photo by Malkiat Singh

But Manjit and hundreds of other Class XII government school students like her in Punjab not just got used to this unique tuition class but were within days, “interacting” with their virtual teacher, asking questions and airing their doubts.

A first-of-its-kind project in India, the state government ran a 45-day crash course completely free of cost in almost 95 centres across the state, which a student appearing for the PMT and CET from any school could attend. The lectures, delivered by teachers at the Edusat hub studio in Mohali, were simultaneously aired at these centres.

For Punjab, at the receiving end of severe criticism as far as government school education is concerned, this one initiative seems to be the turning point. The course met with astounding success given the fact that it had only been advertised by word of mouth.While the course had a host of government school students attending the otherwise intensive tuition schedule, in Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Faridkot it even attracted private school students.

The biggest attraction of the course which ended some days ago were the Delhi-based teachers. Running successful coaching academies there, these teachers had been roped in by the Gyan Sewa Trust that paid for their lectures and arranged for their stay in Mohali. Despite bearing a whopping expenditure on these teachers, the trust had offered their services free to the Punjab government.

“It is a part of our contribution to those students of Punjab who could not have afforded these coaching classes. Our rural students are immensely talented and if given the right guidance they can achieve a lot,” said H.S. Phoolka the chairman of the trust. The trust pioneered a similar effort when it started free coaching classes for PMT and CET at Nawashahar and Khadoor Sahib two years ago.

The schedule of lectures during the course days was fixed. Students had been given assignments before the classes began so that they know what was going to be taught. “Virtual teaching is very different from real teaching. But it is exciting to know that hundreds of students out there are listening to your lecture. Also when they respond with a question and show that they are understanding it is satisfying,” said Deepak Kumar a teacher from Delhi who took the biology class.

By the end of the course students had their favourite teachers too. “I liked the physics teacher the best. He made the lectures very interesting and talked into the computer as if he could see all of us,” said Sahil Makkar a student from Mudki.

The hub studio in Mohali is connected to the 95 centres through Edusat and it was possible for the teacher to talk to any student at any centre. “While the lecture is being delivered, the queries being put by students are received and flashed on the computer in front of the teacher. He responds to it during the lecture session,” explained Jaskamal Singh Brar the in-charge at the Hub here.

-By Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

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