Online school implants dream to hill children

Indeed geographical location becomes prime barrier some times to avail the life of metropolis for any individual when he or she is living in a remote and hilly area of a developing country.

But, getting the bliss of 21st century, any impossible could be composed into reality if there is any tool like internet, which has turned the world into a global village.

So, the learning can no longer be acceptable whenever the potentially of people could be realised through internet-based communication.

hillAn idea of virtual school in a remote and hilly village of Bandarban aims to enlighten the children with English medium education.

The Online-based School is designed to not let distance stop a child to receive the best schooling possible despite its geographic location.

The OnlineSchool has brought the opportunity for the under privileged children to receive the same quality of education as the student of renowned schools in the capital city.

Now, the parents of Reicha union in Bandarban district have started to dream to make their children doctor, engineer and high official, which they never imagined.

The BandarbanOnlineSchool located on the top of a hill at the union, bordered by Dathbhanga Para, Kana Para, Dulujhiri Para and Meghla Para villages.

Zir Mong Soymoy, a woman of Boam ethnicity who never went to school, dreams to turn her four years aged son Fantuat Moyer into doctor.

Another mother Madhobi Tanchangya wants to make her son Swapan Kar, aged 6, as high official. “I will bring my son in the school facing all the difficulties,” she determined.

Country’s leading cellular phone operator GrameenPhone in partnership with JAGOO Foundation and Agni System has established

the online school.

Marcus Adaktusson, Gremeenphone’s Head of Communication, said online school is one of the tools to implement ‘Internet for All,’ which is an ambition of Grameenphone.

The mechanism behind the online school is fairly simple, as the classroom is connected to a teacher in Dhaka via internet- based video conferencing technology. The classes are run in the physical presence of facilitators in online school while another teacher through WEBEX system from JAAGO’s Teaching Centre in Dhaka.

The online teachers deliver the lecture followed by an interactive session with the students for every class. The facilitators at the receiving end assists the children during class work and help to maintain a disciplined classroom environment.

Sukhananda Tanchangya, local teaching assistant of the school, told BSS nearly 40 children aged 4-6 years are reading in the school of which maximum is from Tanchangya and Boam ethnicities while few children belong to Marma ethnicity.

She informed Bangali children also read here, but their number is nominal.

Sukhanda, who joined the online school after completing higher secondary, help the children to understand the lesson during the classes. “All the children are getting education in the school free of cost,” she added.

The modern software used for this form of schooling is WebEx which is an interactive and professional video conferencing software aimed at making the learning process communicative and interactive even with the virtual presence of its remote learners.

The programme contains interactive whiteboard, slide-sharing and video-sharing features and combines a sketch-board to acquaint the students with alphabets through just a stroke from its virtual tutor.

The first online school started in August 2011 with 80 students. At the end of the first academic year, a comparison of performance was done among similar types of schools (BananiSchool and RayerbazaarSchool) and online school.

The findings were clear. On a GPA scale of 4, the online school had a year-end average GPA of 3.37 while BananiSchool and Rayerbazar School 2.86 and 3.08 respectively.

Today there are 360 students in 5 schools located in Gazipur, Gaibandha, Rajshahi, Madaripur and Bandarban.

By Mazharul Anwar Khan, BSS.