BENGALURU: The ongoing lockdown has brought about changes in lives of the old and the young alike. School students, for one, are going through perhaps a never-had-before experience, with lessons moving from bustling classrooms to computer screens. With many schools beginning online classes to keep the curriculum running, parents and teachers express mixed reactions over the move. While many are happy that kids are spending time constructively, others point that it beings about its own set of challenges.
“My child’s school has started classes on Zoom, and so a class often exceed upto 90-minutes in duration,” says Akila Lakshmikanth, a single parent of an 11-year-old studying at Canadian International School. “It’s quite hectic because I work online and have to simultaneously manage the household. Also, the shortage of gadgets leads to a clash,” she adds, mentioning that the government has not thought about streamlining children’s education.
“While the International Baccalaureate syllabus remains as tight, curriculums like CBSE have eased the pressure on kids,” she points out, adding that the ongoing schedule has only inflicted more pressure on kids, with them having to even document activities like yoga and sports. She adds, “It only sounds colourful but the emotional part of a student-teacher relationship is lost.”
Agrees Harikrupa Padmanabhan, a mother two -- 10-year-old Rudraksh and 8-year-old Saketh -- who attend a CBSE institute. Padmanabhan asserts that while schools had closed slightly early in March due to the pandemic, the current time would anyway have been summer vacation. “The likelihood of schools opening in June seems very less, and I guess that’s why the faculty has started classes online to manage the portions,” she says. According to Padmanabhan, the biggest difficulty is that she finds the sessions lacking in interaction. “It feels as if it’s just for the sake of completing things. Network issues are also huge, and then platforms like Zoom have also been called unsafe,” she says, adding that while online sessions are a great alternative for one-on-one sessions, they don’t work as well in cases of regular schooling.
However, many others consider online sessions as an opportunity to explore new options. Take for instance, Aarti Santosh Menda, an online French language tutor and a mother of two -- Gaurav (11) and Anahita (6). “There are issues but one has to look at the positives as well. Technology is growing and the kids are adapting accordingly,” she says, admitting that it is, however, an expensive affair. Though her kids are yet to begin sessions with their schools, she is supportive of the alternative as her experience with her students has been positive. “Even though French has been introduced as a new language for beginners, the kids are focused, unlike in a classroom where they are fidgeting around,” she says.
The situation also depends on how technologically equipped an institution is, says Jaspreet Sethi, a middle school teacher at Trio World Academy. While she asserts that her institution has reinvented according to the requirements, she agrees that the classroom experience seems lost. “Online education is not for everybody, and for the weak students, it only gets harder without any supervision and additional support, which is currently not an option. The experience is not the same as that in a classroom. Motivation also takes a dip for some,” says Sethi.