A parliamentary committee has asked the Ministry of Education’s officials to direct state governments to utilise satellite TV technology for ensuring that underprivileged students can continue studies during the Covid pandemic.
Sources from the Standing Committee on Education told NDTV that the decision was taken after a three-hour meeting in Parliament to discuss plans for bridging the learning gap caused due to suspension of physical classes.
The committee has decided to invite senior officials of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)and officials from the education department of some states to prepare a roadmap for augmenting the use of satellite TV for school education.
The standing committee’s move comes against the backdrop of a digital divide threatening the education of a large number of students across the country. While several institutions have started holding virtual classes after the pandemic forced schools to suspend physical classes, many underprivileged students are unable to attend online classes owing to lack of internet connectivity and other technological challenges.
According to sources, the standing committee has pointed out that a large number of families in the country have access to television sets and using this medium will help take the classes to more students.
The committee has said states should utilise funds given by the centre for digitalisation to buy more TV dishes and distribute them among underprivileged families.
The committee has reasoned that while smartphones may be used to attend virtual classes, making them available to underprivileged families in large numbers would be a tougher task as compared to providing satellite TV connectivity.
The standing committee has also said that the steps initiated by Gujarat and Odisha governments to promote satellite TV technologies in imparting school education should be followed by other states.