Across the ‘class’ division, Avishi Goel is happy to be back at her private school in Delhi but still trying to get into the habit of wearing masks all the time, not sharing lunch boxes and sitting socially away from others.
One month after the Delhi government allowed 9th to 12th class students to return to school with 50 per cent capacity from September 1, students and teachers across the spectrum have welcomed the return to normalcy.
You have successfully cast your vote
The epidemic means different things to different people – as Mansi often called for sacrificing his online classes as the eldest of three siblings, the more fortunate Avishi who had the device but often had his attention flagged, and the teaching community that balanced Kovid’s fears, home responsibilities. And the hard work of connecting with students through a screen.
Although the threat of cowardice exists, the number of cases has decreased in large parts of the country, with educators, parents and students saying that normalcy has been called for so that the process of effective education can continue. Many feel that the decision to return to class is the answer to the question of digital division, quality of education, mental and physical health, and the need for social interaction.
“I often had to miss a class because one or the other of my siblings was attending them. It’s a relief that the school is open. Now I don’t have to worry about holding the phone and having frequent network problems,” said Mansi, a 16-year-old driver’s daughter. Told PTI.
Sania Saifi, who is in Class 11, also suffered the consequences of the tide of digital divide. There was only one phone between his housewife mother and himself.
Sania said, “It was difficult to sit in class because someone or someone else would call on the phone and my class would be disconnected before I disconnected the call. Network problems often make it difficult to rejoin class.”
As the Kovid-1 situation eased across the country, several states, including Telangana, Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan, started bringing students back to school from early July.
Delhi, however, is wary. On Wednesday, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority decided to reopen schools for junior classes just after the festive season, official sources said. Sources present at the meeting, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, said the cowardly situation in the city was “good” but caution was needed.
While students like Mansi and Sania have been able to overcome the digital divide back in the classroom with limited resources, Avishi is thrilled to be back among her friends.
“It’s fun to go back because we had network problems or the teachers couldn’t pay attention to everyone. The best thing about going back is physical activity with friends and teachers. It’s also nice to meet friends,” said ninth-grader Md.
His father, Basant Goel, who owns a chemist’s shop in the national capital, is skeptical of his new “hybrid method of teaching.” However, he is satisfied for the time being because his daughter is finally getting some physical activity.
In hybrid mode, the Delhi government has allowed parents to decide whether to send their child to school. Some students therefore participate in online classes simultaneously with offline students.
“We’ve tried online for a while, but the school doesn’t have a projector or anything to show the blackboard better. Also, the teacher’s attention is divided between online and offline students, so we had to send him to school. If nothing else, he’s now physically active Said.
Taking the hybrid was not easy for the school administration and teachers either.
According to Sunita Swaraj, principal of The Heritage School, Basant Kunj, it is facing a new challenge.
“Switching to hybrid seemed easy, but we also have to deal with bandwidth constraints, network disruptions, attendance maintenance and simultaneous management of virtual and physical space,” Swaraj told PTI.
He said the school associates have decided to call students in stunned small crews to facilitate learning and to limit the number of students on campus.
Teach for India Fellow Aniruddha Bhattacharya added that it connects teachers and students in the classroom in ways that are not possible on screen.
“Everyone has at least one teacher in their life that you can talk to, from breakups to your family problems. They can only share a problem with a teacher who is also a friend. It becomes very difficult in the online environment,” said Bhattacharya, who lives in Delhi. Teach at a school, he said.
The epidemic hits teachers equally if not worse. Satyendra Gautam, a school teacher in Delhi, said they were expected to have maturity and empathy when they could express their grief on their own.
“Some of our colleagues have come back from the grip of death, some have died in the family. On new terms,” Gautam said.
Experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research recently said that with the proper implementation of multi-level Covid-1m mitigation measures, schools need to be reopened in phases, starting from primary department. In an opinion piece in The Indian Journal of Medical Research, experts say testing techniques in school settings could serve as a major intervention to test the potential spread of the virus. They also cited a UNESCO report that school closures in India for more than 500 days have affected more than 320 million children. It has hit children from relatively deprived villages and slums, many of whom cannot read more than a few words. One study found that students were deprived of social interaction, lacked physical activity and felt the need to loosen bonds of friendship due to long school closures, part of the opinion saying ‘school reopened during the Covid-1 pandemic epidemic: a permanent dilemma’.
Read More Educational News
Keep Reading Latest Breaking News