Guwahati, Nov 8 (IANS) Apart from defending the frontiers, fighting terrorists, and undertaking rescue missions in emergencies, the Indian Army has now launched coaching for students in the northeast region as educational institutions remain shut for over seven months now due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under “Operation Sadbhavna”, the Army’s Spear Corps has undertaken to conduct coaching classes for students of Classes 9 to 12 in Miao and Kharsang villages of Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district, bordering Myanmar.
Defence spokesman, Lt. Col P. Khongsai told IANS on Sunday that the coaching classes were started on Friday and based on their response and performance, the Army would likely to consider introducing similar initiatives in other states of the northeast.
The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected the education of children, with no schools running and classes shifted to online mode, he said, noting that children in rural areas with poor internet connectivity have suffered the most as online classes are often a distant dream.
“Understanding the concern, the aim of this proposal is to ensure that an important academic year of senior children from these remote areas is not wasted due to pandemic, mitigate the anxiety of parents and finally prevent drop-outs.”
He said a solemn opening ceremony was conducted at Miao and Kharsang on Friday and was attended by village Samiti President, the Principal of government higher secondary school, Kharsang and teachers of the Kendriya Vidyalaya, Miao.
Lt. Col Khongsai said that the students were motivated to draw maximum benefit of these coaching classes to cover up the lost syllabus due to the pandemic. The coaching classes are being conducted free of cost and would continue till the end of January.
According to the spokesman, initially around 70 students have registered themselves for the facility at two centres – at the government school at Kharsang and the Kendriya Vidyalaya at Miao.
Initially, four teachers have been hired at each location for conducting the classes for physics, chemistry and mathematics.
Lt. Col Khongsai said that all Covid-19 protocols are being strictly adhered to during the classes and the necessary arrangements have been made to ensure safety.
“The initiative has evoked very positive response from locals of Miao and Kharsang and have expressed their deep appreciation and gratitude towards the Spear Corps and Indian Army for addressing their serious concerns in the hours of pandemic,” he added.
In the northeastern region, except Assam, the other seven states are yet to decide on the resumption of classes in schools on a regular basis.
Educational institutions in Assam reopened on November 2 after more than seven months. The state Education Department said that classes for students from Class 6 to 12 have been resumed in small batches, following all Covid-19 protocols and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) issued by the department last month.