The shift is difficult for many rural students as many of them lack smartphone and internet access
A woman is seen teaching using a board next to the backyard of her residence. However, there are no students in front of her. Instead, a teenager is holding a mobile phone placed on a tripod.
In this way, the teacher is hosting online classes for her students.
Salma Mahmud, an assistant teacher at Boilor Sahitya Ratna Government Primary School in Trishal upazila of Mymensingh was teaching the class.
Educational institutions have been closed for a long time, to prevent novel coronavirus infections, which is hampering the academic activities of primary school students.
So, the demand for online classes is increasing.
The online classes for the students of different grades are being broadcast on Sangsad TV. Additionally, government primary school teachers are regularly teaching online classes.
Despite numerous technical limitations, teachers of rural areas are teaching online classes. Many of them are learning new ways to use technology.
"I never thought of teaching classes in this way. I have bought a camera stand and a microphone to teach the online class. My son is helping me in this regard," said Salma Mahmud.
District Primary Education Officer Mohammad Safiul Haque said 35 teachers from each upazila are conducting online classes via the Mymensingh Online Primary School Facebook page.
The number of participating teachers from 13 upazilas of the district is 455.
"There are about five lakh primary students in the district. About half of these students have come under online classes," he added.
The teachers in the rural areas are not lagging in using technology. They are teaching classes on various Facebook pages related to primary education.
Rasheduzzaman Rana, head teacher of Trishal Government Primary School, said that so far he has taught about fifty online classes.
According to him, online classes are a relatively new concept for them which has also caused inconveniences.
"Due to a lack of technical skills, many teachers are unable to hold classes online despite their willingness to do so. They need training in this regard. And then, a good number of teachers will be able to take part in online classes," he said.
Meanwhile, it has been discovered that the cost of necessary equipment for online classes has increased in Mymensingh. Prices have gone up because of high demand.
Iqbal Hossain, a trader at Alka Nadibangla Market in the city, said that sales of tripods and microphones have increased more than ever.
Most of the buyers are teachers. Many of them teach classes indoors, so they are also buying separate light stands, he said.
The camera stands and tripods are sold according to their models. And their average price is up to Tk3,000, added Iqbal.
"Additionally, the microphones are sold at Tk850-1,100," he further added.
Although the number of primary school teachers shifting to online classes is increasing day by day, the reality is that most of the students in the rural areas lack access to online classes.
The mainstream students in the villages do not have access to smartphones, internet and computers.
The initiative of Farhana Zaman, a teacher of Trishal Boilor Kanhar Government Primary School, visits the residences of her students once a week.
She gets information about the studies of her students.
"Although students from the city have been included easily in the online classes, the scenario of rural areas is a bit different. So, in line with teaching online classes, I visit them at their homes at least once a week to monitor their academic activities," she said.
Abdul Hadi, a resident of Phulpur upazila of the district, also a guardian of a student, said it was not possible for all students in the village to participate in online classes.
It is difficult for all their families to have mobile phones and internet access, he added.
Trishal Upazila Education Officer Nur Mohammad said, "We are continuing our efforts to ensure the maximum participation of students in online classes. Additionally, teachers are encouraged through regular Zoom app meetings."
Since the educational institutions have been closed for a long time, the chance of dropping out prevails. So, we are also informing teachers about the matter, he added.
Meanwhile, the Department of Primary Education has highlighted the importance of ensuring teachers' safety so they can continue academic activities for their students.
Md Fasiullah, director general of the department said, "The primary school teachers have set an example by teaching online classes."
"The most important issue for us is to keep students safe and healthy. Moreover, teachers have been instructed to work safely and in compliance with health regulations," he added.