Frontlist Education | With School TV, Bihar tries a break from online classes

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With no signs of opening of schools, the education department is focussing on improving content, with classes on photography, computer coding, cartooning, arts and craft, yoga, career counselling, cooking, and anger and stress management being very popular with students.

Ruchi Kumari, a Class 10 student in a government school in Madhubani’s Kamtoul area, may now have been used to studies in the absence of physical classrooms through “sometimes boring” online lessons, but it is ‘School TV’ — a medley of audio-visual weekend programmes on careers, entrepreneurship and extra-curricular activities broadcast on Doordarshan — which she finds more innovative and engaging.

While these programmes are meant for Classes 9 to 12, Ruchi said her sister Shambhavi, a Class 6 student, joins her out of interest, and that it would have been better if School TV could also incorporate programmes on Mithila paintings and contemporary dance.

Similar suggestions are now making their way to WhatsApp groups of the Bihar School Education Project (BEP) under the education department to lift the morale of BEP officials, who have otherwise been working hard on receptibility of the department’s online classes on Doordarshan between Mondays and Fridays.

With no signs of opening of schools, the education department is focussing on improving content, with classes on photography, computer coding, cartooning, arts and craft, yoga, career counselling, cooking, and anger and stress management being very popular with students.

Shailendra Kumar Sah, a Class 10 student at a government school in Begusarai’s Teghra, said, “At a time when classes are not running, we have School TV programmes which prepare ourselves to take real-life challenges. It talks about our areas of interest and also if it can get us jobs.”

Bihar Education Project’s Special Project Officer Kiran Kumari said, “When we started online programmes for school texts, we thought of doing something innovative and forward looking. This is where School TV came in with support from our content provider, Going To School, a voluntary group working with us since 2012.

“We engaged professionals to send their videos. We engaged IT experts, sportspersons, comedians, psychologists, authors, photographers and chefs… We decided to air these programmes on Saturdays and Sundays on Doordarshan in May. It was well-received from the first episode.”

The first episode aired on May 29 and 77 topics have been covered so far.

Asked about the feedback mechanism, Kumari said every district will send a report. “We have cumulative viewership of 50-60 lakh for ‘Mera Doordarshan, Mera Vidyalaya’, which also includes School TV.”

Sujata Bhadani, Going To School’s Director in Bihar, said, “We are shooting four to 12 episodes of a segment, keeping the videos about 12-minute long, considering the attention span of a student.”

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