Sangsad TV and radio will broadcast the recorded online classes
The government has directed all primary schools to use Google Meet conferencing app to optimize learning and mitigate possible academic losses occurred due to the suspension of in-person classes amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education sent 13-point instructions to all primary schools under the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) on April 29.
According to the DPE, around 30 million students at primary schools across the country will be taught online through Google Meet. For this, all the schools have been split into 3,000 clusters. The schools with necessary ICT facilities in each cluster will be selected to hold the Google Meet classes.
All schools in urban areas will participate in the Google Meet class initiative. Teachers who are skilled with ICT will conduct classes with 30 students at a time.
Alamgir Muhammad Mansurul Alam, director-general of the DPE, told Dhaka Tribune: "The teachers will be given training on conducting classes on a cluster basis all over the country. If one student from each school participates, it will count as a class.
“If there are more than 30 students in a class, the institutions concerned will arrange another separate class for the additional students.”
Educationist Rasheda K Chowdhury has welcomed the government's initiative, but also warned that online classes can never replace physical classes in the long term.
“Certain aspects of physical classes, such as social interaction, are nearly impossible to replicate online,” she said.
She also pointed out that several issues needed to be addressed before implementing the initiative.
“How will the families that have multiple students ensure their participation in classes if they are restricted to a single device? Uninterrupted internet and power are also not available to all the families. The various wings of the government need to coordinate to solve these issues to ensure that the Google Meet initiative is a success,” Rasheda added.
The 13-point instructions
The directives ask for the formation of committees at the district level with the district primary education officers, Primary Training Institute (PTI) superintendents, and instructors, upazila education officers, and upazila resource centre (URC) instructors monitoring the online classes. The divisional deputy director of DPE will be in-charge of the process.
Primary school teachers, field-level education officers, and PTI instructors will coordinate with the DPE to implement the online class initiative. Content and lesson plans will be provided for the classes.
The online classes will run simultaneously in all primary schools using the same lesson plan. Sangsad TV and radio will broadcast the classes.
One ICT pool will be formed in each cluster. It will include teachers from different schools under the cluster led by the assistant upazila education officer, who has already worked with Google Meet.
Members of the ICT pool will give one-day orientations to as many teachers as possible in the cluster. Then both will give orientations to all students and their parents (who have smart devices) about the Google Meet classes.
Jobayedur Rahman, director (training) and joint secretary at DPE, said: “The TV classes will continue so that the students have both the TV and online options. We do not want any student to be left behind. If necessary, teachers will provide lessons directly to students and parents while maintaining social distancing and hygiene rules.”