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Online Education: Too Much is a Problem Too
By Olivia Sarkar

There is an Apparent Fatigue for Online Schooling in Children. Should it not Bother us? 

When Covid 19 struck the world, schools immediately resorted to online education assuming well that corona is not a short term problem. It took just a couple of days to get the system in place for online education. Teachers trained, the children and parents all briefed and syllabus customised to set to a new normal of online education.

It seemed perfect for the changed circumstances due to novel corona virus. Just when we thought online education system is well in place we see the repercussions coming and the system faltering.

March 18, 2020 was an important date that Anshul (name changed) waited for many months. While he prepared for his board exams throughout 2019, he and his friends would often discuss their plans post their board examinations.

Anshul, always a bright student had been equally passionate about his tennis and adventure sports and also waited for vacations with his cousins and extended family. He was also excited about his new academic sessions and eagerly waited for new class and subjects of standard 11th.

It has been many months since,  March 18, 2020 has passed way back, summer vacations have passed and the new session of class 11th too is also midway. But he is no more interested in studies or school anymore. He is cranky, disoriented and openly confides to his mother that he feels depressed.

Anshul hasn’t stepped out of his house for many months. Nothing interests him now. He just wants to move out. His mother says he has never been a TV or video game buff he is missing his tennis ground, he hasn’t met his cousins and extended family or his friends although they video chat daily but Anshul is missing the life and the fun of physical-social engagement.

Anshul is not alone. Children are distracted from their studies and fudging online classes. “enough of online education”, they say. Many of these are those who had to be dragged away from the digital screens by their parents in usual times but now these very children hate to be online while ironically parents are no more insisting them to get away from the screens.

As mentioned by one of the student, Aron Bisht of Greenway Modern School, of class four, “We started an active participation in online classes but it doesn’t interest me anymore. Earlier I used to be very particular to sit in front of my computer for online lectures whole day but now I get very frustrated with all this. I am not at all interested in the online lectures and only prefer to get the attendance”.

Not All is Well With Online Education

Online education is not filling the gaps in a big way. While some students have got bored with these online segments and least interested in joining there are many for whom wifi connection and digital gadgets are a luxury. These children are lagging behind as they can’t afford online education and hence missing on the education altogether.

Aron’s parents Pushpa Bisht and Laxman Bisht says that, Aron is becoming cranky and ill-tempered and reacts over tiny things, “Children are losing motivation to stay at home as quarantine period due to corona has continued for a longer time”.

The initial excitement and commitment with the online education has but vanished. There is already a fatigue which has set in not only in the children and parents but also the teachers for whom it is getting crazy to handle the shortening attention span of their students and keep them attentive.

“Attentiveness and the seriousness is the biggest casualty”, says Priya Chhokra, IBDP English Facilitator, G D Goenka World School, Gurgaon, who emphasises that something which we initially thought to be an excellent option of dispensing  education in unprecedent circumstances have taken a different turn. She says online education has become too commercialised and competitive rather than becoming an option to suit these tough times.

It has become a race of winning numbers for schools, says Priya, “The entire system of online education which was supposed to fill in the gap during lockdown days is being exploited for commercial and economic gains. Unfortunately after around four months of experience of online education I can say that while every-one is exploiting the corona times to maintain the economic and commercial cycle, no one is thinking whether the online education system is benefitting children or not. Children are least interested in attending classes and as a teacher we have limitation to pursue beyond a point, “ she says.

Challenge of Online Education For Parents

The situation is getting challenging enough for parents. The biggest challenge is to hold back the children home after months of lock down. Parents are trying different methods to keep the children relaxed and comfortable by allowing them to indulge in electronic gadgets or treating them with their favourite variety of dishes so that they shouldn’t crave or desire for outside street foods.

In certain cases children have refused to take online classes and their parents have to bargain by allowing them to play online games for longer time in case they take online classes.  Still, many children are just joining the online links of their classes, mute themselves on audio as well as video and keep doing whatever they want to do while showing zero or least interest in the lectures.

What are The Problems Teachers Facing in Online Classes

Not only the children and parents, online schooling is giving tough times for teachers as it is affecting the performance. Sarojini Negi, a TGT Hindi at DAV school Gaziabad, in Uttar Pradesh says, “ for teachers it is getting tougher. Squeezing the lectures to suit the online structure is a tough and time consuming experience. We have to not only handle the students who are least interested in the online lectures but also focus on completing the syllabus. Keeping the interest of the students intact when they are absolutely disinterested is becoming the biggest challenge. It is just not easy,” she says while pointing out that online classes are not leaving much impact on knowledge base of the students.

Teachers are hoping to actually get back faster to physical teaching once again as that is most convenient. They can easily focus on their students and teach without any distractions too.

Priya Chhokra - G D Goenka School, Gurugram
PRIYA CHHOKRA – G D GOENKA SCHOOL, GURUGRAM

Priya Chhokra has another very important concern about the disparity which the online education is creating within the society. She is worried about those students the most who are not able to continue their schooling due to reasons like lack of wifi availability or digital gadgets.

The other important reasons which is the cause of discontinuation of education is the non-payment of fee as the parents are losing their jobs due to economic slow-downs and can’t afford the education of their children.

“ I am worried. What will happen to those children who are missing their online schooling due to various reasons. How will I, as a teacher manage the loss when we start the physical education once again. Either these children will miss out all together what they are missing or the schools will have to devise a way to manage and overcome this loss.”

Lockdowns and quarantining shall not be a permanent state but let’s not loose these times in wasting our little precious angles to these unprecedented circumstances. Education, is indeed an irreplaceable option for life but any option which becomes a cause of damage to human lives and more to our children should be revisited. Every single life is important. But children need to be protected most to protect the future.

(The views expressed in the article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion, beliefs and view point of the owners of asiannewsmakers.com)

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