Schools are beginning to reopen in India after a long gap due to pandemic. Some of the states already started the particular classes like 10th, 11th and 12th. The complete lockdown in March 2020 last year in India affected everything and education is one of them. Since March students are locked inside their home and are made to study online along with lectures and daily attendance.
12th standard student Sakshi, who studies in Navyug School, Laxmi Bai Nagar, New Delhi, described the whole changed process of entering the school. She said, “Our school has been started only for 12th standard because of pre-board exams. The whole scenario of entering and exiting ahs been changed after the pandemic. It is mandatory for everybody to wear a mask and maintain a social distance. On entrance we have a person checking our temperatures and thermal screening, after we have to sanitize our hands and bags. We have to be in a line while entering the class.”
The sitting arrangements has also changed. There is a one seat gap maintained between every two students to follow the social distancing measure. Considering the situation, students themselves have to collect and submit the sheets for writing in exam. Also, since the school is reopening after pandemic, parents and students are finding it sceptical to attend, and are choosing to stay home. Result, attendance of students and even teachers has been fallen. “Although there are number of instructions to be followed and the environment is not how it was before the school got shut, but we are very grateful that our classes opened. I am very happy after meeting my all schoolmates and friends after so long and watching them safe.” The school is about to get open for 10th standard students too from February for the pre board exams. Schools are taking decisions step by step and are choosing the classes one at a time to avoid crowd and any kind of risk due to the gatherings of more than 50 people.
Although the Centre already gave permission of reopening the schools from 15 October 2020 but it was an individual decision of states to decide. And now slowly and gradually students are going to school. The union government indicated this already when Home Ministry allowed senior students of class 9th to 12th to go to school voluntarily and can clear the doubts. Younger children are currently decided to do study from home and no official instruction or notification has been passed by schools but the senior ones have already starting attending the classes and are coming back on track.
10th class student Muskaan said, “We are given official notification to attend school from 5th of February and I am in double thoughts. I am happy because of meeting my friends after a very long time but also at the same time I am tensed about the crowd.” Talking about the online studies, she said, “It is very chaotic and messed up. Sometimes network doesn’t allow the content to reach up to students and sometimes doubts couldn’t reach to teachers. I ignore to ask doubts just because of online network disturbance and I am definitely sure this wouldn’t have been the case in classrooms. The online education affected the doubt clearing process, and also the lectures sometimes. It is hard to get quality education in this time of pandemic.”
E-learning grabbed the attention at initial stage when it was introduced but now eventually people are counting its drawbacks. 37 years old Deepti, mother of two kids said, “My kids are in 4th and 5th standard. Since the lockdown happened, they are having their classes online. During starting days, it appears to be the best alternate but as days passed it is looking senseless. Teachers are busy in giving their lectures and students by putting their camera and microphone off, gets busy in doing other things. They hardly pay attention until I have to babysit them which is exhausting sometimes.”
She added, “Online classes are not productive in nature and apart from technology, I don’t think children have learnt something new last year.” Although last year, e-learning companies witnessed excessive of 25% customers. E-learning is proved as a convenient option for the current situation but we cannot deny, the education got highly affected due to this. Teacher by profession, 29 years old Pooja teaches in a private school and is interacting with her students online from March 2020. She said, “Yes the moment we heard that classes are going to begin again in classrooms soon from this year, it really made me happy and relieved too. Some of my colleagues who are not tech-savvy faced lot of problems during this session including me sometimes. We actually learned a lot about technology due to this.”
Pooja believes online education is a good alternate and really helped in the pandemic but definitely it cannot serve for long and we need to come back on previous tradition of education in class rooms as interaction between teachers and students need to be more transparent and briefer to give and get good learning.
Pandemic made us to lock everything up, be it economy, employment, food, entertainment, education what not? But now things are going back to normal for India as education, one of the significant sectors is opening again step by step.
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