In my last blog, I had written about how underprivileged children are dealing with education in the times of COVID-19 with limited access to technology. The aim of this blog is to explain how students who are fortunate enough to have access to technology, feel about online education and the ramifications of the pandemic on schooling and education today.
Probably one of the most significant impacts of the pandemic on education is the interruption of all the major exams in the country. Due to the pandemic the ICSE, ISC, CBSE and some state board exams were delayed in March. The IBDP and IGCSE exams scheduled for May were cancelled as well. This has resulted in high levels of stress in students over the past couple of months as they did not exactly know what was going to happen to these exams. All the Indian boards had not made their position clear during this trying time and there was confusion and panic spreading between anxious class 10 and 12 students. Finally, a decision has been taken to cancel the exams (thanks to legal intervention), however, the marking scheme is still ambiguous.
As for the rest of the students, I willbe writing about their views on online education and what they feel, are its advantages and disadvantages.
There are a plethora of reasons why students like online school at the moment. The primary reason is…. they don’t have to get up so early every morning. They feel a lot more comfortable at home doing classes being able to sit on a bed or on a sofa, maybe being able to eat if they felt like making the entire experience a lot more bearable. Additionally, students are not required to wear their school uniform, which is an added benefit for them. They also feelmore comfortable asking the teacher questions on WhatsApp- something which they do not usually do. Also, the actual school hours are reduced so they do have a little more time. Most students find it easier to focus due to the lack of any distraction provided by their classmates. Some children are also happier as they have found multiple ways to create mischief in this new system.
The most obvious reason why students do not like online schooling is the lack of physical interaction with their fellow peers. They are missing their friends dearly, which is understandable as it is in school where lifelong friendships are formed. This shift in paradigm has put the development of social skills to a halt. There is not a lot of provision for extracurricular activities either. Another disadvantage is that because the students have extra time, schools are burdening them with plenty of extra homework- concerning many parents as well. Some students also feel that their phones cause a distraction during class and that it’s very easy to lose focus and start daydreaming. They say that online school is very draining and mentally exhausting, staring at the screen for a long period of time. Poor internet connection has also created issues for many people.
After having spoken to a couple of teachers myself, I have also been able to understand their perspective on online schooling- it is really disadvantageous for them. For starters, they cannot gauge whether a student has understood a concept or not, they may only have a hunch. Due to the fact that the teaching hours are reduced, teachers are sending out worksheets for the children to do (primarily for the junior classes) and that is how they are assessing a student’s progress. Teachers also often feel that they are talking to themselves when they teach online classes and sometimes it can get highly demotivating. Students often keep their videos off so teachers cannot tell if they are even present or not or see if they are paying attention in class. They may be doing other things such as watching a movie or texting their friends while the teacher is explaining. These reasons make online school a nuisance for teachers.
In conclusion, the effect of online schooling differs from student to student. For a more studious and focused child, it may not be so bad; but for distracted children, it becomes extremely difficult to cope. The entire education system, all over the country has dramatically changed due to the pandemic. Everyone- students, parents and teachers are waiting to get back to their normal routine.
Full name: Vihaan Desai
School: Hill Spring International