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Rural students lagging behind in studies

Published : 23 Jun 2020 11:06 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 05:49 PM

Students in rural areas across the country are lagging behind in academic activities due to lack of digital facilities like internet and television.

All educational institutions have been closed since March 17 due to the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19).
To minimize the loss of academic activities, the government started broadcasting online class through Sangshad Television for secondary students from March 29, and primary students from April 7.

Although students of urban areas can watch these classes broadcast on TV, the rural students cannot utilize the opportunity.
Experts said a large number of students, particularly in rural and shoal areas, may drop out from education due to long study break and increasing poverty due to coronavirus.

Recently, BRAC has published a survey report titled ‘Impact of Covid-19 on Education in Bangladesh’.
According to the survey,about 56 percent students were not taking part in the primary and secondary classes aired on Sangsad television. Of the 44 percent who took part, 74 percent said they found the classes useful.

About 75 per cent of students from ethnic minority groups are not taking part in television classes, the report says.
Then, students from madrasas, rural areas and with disabilities were higher in percentage among those not taking part in television classes.

Replying to a question as to why they are not taking part in television classes, 71 percent students said they have some limitations. Some of them do not have a Television in their house, some do not have satellite cable connection while others do not have electricity.

At present, 3.10 crore students are studying at the primary and secondary levels, of them, more than 1.63 crore students are not watching the classes broadcast on Sangsad TV. Almost all of them are from rural areas.

Primary and Mass Education Secretary Akram-al-Hossain told Bangladesh Post, “According to BBS survey, 50.6 percent families have a television. As a result, it is not possible for more students than this percentage to watch television classes.”

“However, for all students, we are arranging classroom broadcasts on radio. About 98 percent parents of students have a mobile phone. They will also be able to listen to radio classes via mobile. Apart from this, students can also get five minutes of free education advice by calling 3336. That will also be introduced,” he said.

Rasheda K Chowdhury, Executive Director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) and former primary and mass education ministry adviser to a caretaker government, said, “Students living around shoal or wetlands areas will drop out at a higher rate during the corona crisis.”

“Apart from lack of awareness, parents in remote areas have no financial ability. In this disastrous situation, they will try to earn extra income for the family by using their children,” she said.

It has been found that very few students are able to watch classes broadcast on television.
In Chilmari of Kurigram, only 20 to 30 percent students are watching these classes. There are also students who have not yet seen a single class.

Headmaster of Chilmari Pilot Girls School, Tayab Ali, said, “About 70 percent students, out of 900 students, of his institution are not taking part in TV classes. Students are accustomed to learning on hand. This one-way study is not effective for them.”

Anwar Hossain, headmaster of Charcarpharma Government Primary School of Galachipa Upazila in Patuakhali, said, “More than half of the students in the area do not have the opportunity to watch TV.”