With many poor students being unable to afford smartphones for online classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a school in Maharashtra’s Solapur city has found a new way of imparting education by painting walls of houses in the vicinity with lessons from textbooks. Also Read - Anything For Education: Tribal Students Climb a Hill to Get Internet For Online Classes in Tamil Nadu

Around 300 outer walls of various houses in Nilamnagar area of Solapur have been painted with simplified lessons from textbooks of various subjects of Classes 1 to 10.

This makes it convenient for students to go and stand in front of a particular wall to revise the lessons while following the social distancing guidelines, Ram Gaikwad, a teacher from the Asha Marathi Vidyalaya primary school in Nilamnagar of Solapur told PTI.

Nearly 1,700 students from nearby areas study in the primary school and its secondary section Shri Dharmanna Sadul Prashala.

Gaikwad said these students come from poor families as their parents are labourers, mostly working in textile units of the district.

“Online education is the new norm in the current COVID-19 situation for which smartphone with good internet bandwidth is a must. But, the parents of the majority of our students do not have smartphones or any other gadget, so online classes are a distant dream for them,” he said.

Hence, the school came up with the idea of painting walls of the houses located near the educational institution with lessons from textbooks, he said.

“We painted contents from textbooks on the walls of houses in Nilamnagar by making them simpler, comprehensible and interesting. Students, as per their convenience, now go and stand in front of the walls following all the social distancing norms and revise the lessons,” Gaikwad said.

The lessons painted on the walls include an introduction to letters, numbers, word and sentence formation, grammar, mathematical formulas, general knowledge and lessons from various other subjects, he said.

The school is also conducting online classes for students who have smartphones or other gadgets at home, Gaikwad added.

Asha Marathi Vidyalaya”s Principal Tasleem Pathan said nearly 1,700 students, mostly from Nilamnagar, are enrolled in the primary and secondary sections of the school.

The lessons painted on the walls are not only benefitting them but also students from two to three other schools located nearby, she said.

Nagesh Kallur, who works at a canteen in the city and has enrolled his son in this school, said he cannot afford a smartphone for his child’s online education.

“But, the lessons painted on the walls of houses in our area are turning out to be beneficial for students. Students follow the social distancing norms and wear masks while standing in front of these walls to study,” he said.

Surekha Kore, a parent of another student, said as their family income has dipped due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, it is difficult for them to afford a smartphone for online education.

“These lessons painted on the walls in our area are turning out to be quite useful for our children,” she said.