With private and public educational institutes across Odisha opting for online teaching in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the state government will introduce an alternative learning and mentorship programme for schools meant for tribal students from Monday, an official said.
About six lakh students belonging to the Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe communities will be benefited from the initiative.
"The programme will be launched from Monday to cater to the educational needs of these students from standard 2 to 10 in 1,731 residential schools across the state," the ST/SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department secretary Ranjana Chopra said.
A detailed strategy has been developed in consultation with civil society organisations, the official said.
For students, who have access to the internet, Whatsapp groups have been formed through which e-content will be provided to them.
"The e-content that maps to the curriculum of standard 2 to 10 has been created. This will be provided to the students registered in various Whatsapp groups at the school level," she said.
For students, who do not have access to the internet and smartphones, the "mentor teachers" will reach out to them.
A total of 4,467 "mentor teachers" will go and meet poverty-stricken students in 21,239 tribal villages located in far-flung areas of districts such as Koraput, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj and Sundergarh, the official said.
The teachers, who have been asked to maintain social distancing norms during their visit to the villages, will hand over study materials to the students.
"It is expected that this whole exercise will keep the ST and SC students, residing in remote villages, connected to the learning process and also provide them skill support," Chopra said.
The teachers will create an enabling environment in the villages and mentor these students, she added.