"I don't want to anticipate another online class session," said Rose*, a first-year student from a private college affiliated to Bengaluru City University. She is among many students who fear going back to the online mode after doing so for more than a year during the pandemic. They do not feel they have acquired the competencies they expected.
The lack of competencies has reached an extent that students who graduated in the COVID years are struggling to get placed due to the learning gap that cannot be filled, said a lecturer.
Students from various colleges, who spoke to The New Indian Express, were worried by the fact that examinations are around the corner and lecturers are quickly completing the practical classes expecting a restart of online classes. This comes in the backdrop of the COVID clusters mushrooming in educational institutes in Karnataka, and the global emergence of the Omicron.
For students like Sana*, a second-year student, online classes have already started for two months. "Ever since the first-year students started classes in October, we have been asked to attend classes online. But exams are planned offline, she said. More than a year has gone redundant due to online classes, and I could not exercise my leadership skills to the fullest potential, added Sana who is an elected class representative.
She rued that with post classroom conversations going online, students left their group members on ’seen’ “which is disappointing. On social media, there were no meaningful conversations," she added. As for academics, it was a merely copy-paste mode.
A student of western classical music Sudeepa* wondered how her class could be held online. In class 12 online class was a relief because commerce as a discipline was forced on her. But in graduation, she chose what she was passionate about, but couldn’t do justice to it in terms of study, she said.
Psychologist Manika Ghosh, president, Bangalore Psychology Forum, agreed that online classes failed to tackle problems such as bullying, wherein a physical class had mechanisms in schools. The online setup impacted also students' holistic development ( includes relationship development)," she added. As a solution, she said teachers needed to deal with students in a more sensitive manner and teaching methodology has to change.
"It has been almost two years since the pandemic started, many teachers still don’t have an orientation for online classes. Many teachers are struggling with technology — there are a lot of teachers above 50 years. What prevented the government to have an orientation for teachers on how online classes could have been held interactively?” she said.
President of Karnataka Government College Teachers Association (KGCTA) T M Manjunath agreed that training was not held. However, the commissioner of the Collegiate Education Department, Pradeep P insisted that training was held online for teachers, and a learning management system had classes and PPT’s for two semesters.
Another professor of psychology believed holding physical classes on alternate days was the only solution, should the situation get worse. How can you guarantee that students will pay attention from home, considering a certain number of institutes have trained their teachers? she questioned. The introduction of a new system for NEP enforced amid the pandemic when colleges are recovering from the new mode of teaching is total chaos, she added.
'No plans for Hybrid or online Classe yet for colleges'
Commissioner of Department of Collegiate Education, Pradeep P told TNIE there are no plans for hybrid or online classes as of now, "In case anything of that sort, the instructions will come from the government," he added.
*Names of students have been changed for privacy