The idea of online classes through internet has been in existence for a long time. However, it is during this pandemic that we are getting to see being implemented on a very large scale. Not a single person predicted this was going to happen when children still used to go to school like every other day. Kids used to meet with their friends in person, eat and play together. Online education has its merits too like more opportunities to learn for those who can’t afford to attend school in traditional settings. But for small children, say from classes k-7, communication gap among peers is clearly a disadvantage. There are lot of skills they learn through experiences with friends during these years like leadership, sportsmanship, patience etc. So in this regard current online system hinders the natural growing process of kids. The flexibility in schedule that comes with online classes is also a debatable topic because it is good if used with sincerity but most of the time that is not the case. Consider the case where in school, it is compulsory for students to study at least five to six hours a day. They have to be attentive towards teacher without slacking off, in order to make notes at the very least if not exactly study. I have a younger brother in school so the fact is based on my very own experience that school children caught the absence of discipline imposed by school with a lightning speed and did not bother to attend classes properly just when online classes got started. Lack of discipline is not just a matter of academic performance either. They have completely lost the track of time, when to go to sleep or when to wake? Biological clock has got quite messed up, which is not good for health. In clear cut words, current reality is students have lost a great deal of motivation to aim and work towards anything. Hopefully, teachers are still trying to push themselves at their level best, although it can’t be easy because unlike students, they have serious responsibilities towards their families and have to be more careful to not catch infection. Lack of training and unavailability of resources on the end of educators also serves as an excuse for children to not study. Most of us were unprepared to switch the mode of teaching and learning, except a handful of people. So it makes sense that when the mode of education got changed so suddenly there had to be large number of technical issues such as sound or camera problem and if nothing then problem with internet connectivity itself. Well, this problem is not just with educators but people in general who belong to different kinds of line of work and have to rely heavily on technology for the first time to compensate their absence in person. Therefore, online mode is a good experience to learn that we should be prepared for anything in the world at all times, regardless of our career. There is an ethical issue as well which a student might not like to talk about is cheating. Group collaborations behind the scenes gives an easy win against the fair concept which says study and conquer it yourself. Those students who get their way out of this through cheating will obviously don’t bother themselves to study hard. Others, who try their best but still have not scored well, also lose their will to try hard and give up to cheat. Although online teaching and examination platforms have geared themselves up to become cheating resistant, but still far from conducting a fair exam. Most effective way to deal with the problem is that family members keep their child in check and don’t allow to access anything unnecessarily. Anyone can do this by keeping the person giving exam under observation at random intervals. Such an action may seem to be harsh but it is for the own good of students to stick to the right way of doing things. In lower classes students are unaware of the consequences they might have to face in higher classes, so as their educators, family members, guardians we should not lose sight of future behind the curtain of temporary benefits of present.
High school students (from class 10th to 12th) have lot more troubles to deal. These three years are most important at school from academic point of view. Students in class 10th aim to score well in board exams conducted by CBSE or any other respective board all over the India. Then the students are presented with stream options also believed to be foundation of their career in future, based on the marks they got in board exams. However, this year even these students too got laid back and did not show any sincerity to attend online classes properly. A great deal of contrast was observed in exams conducted online throughout the year and preboards conducted offline, just when actual boards were around. The results would have been quite disappointing overall if exams were not cancelled due to covid19. Given how class 10th results will be generated, they would not give clear idea of a student’s potential in stream allotment process as much good as offline mode of examination gives. It is not just a problem of right stream allotment either, the students seem to be weak with concepts of class 10th. They possibly would face problems in class 11th as the course will keep moving. Like in science stream understanding of valency taught in 10th is important to understand s,p,d etc shells and also be good at the basic reactions to write balanced chemical equations later on. So they have lots of work to do now or else it will be too difficult to keep up with the vast material they have to learn in the next two years after passing from class 10th.
As far as I have seen current class 12th students are managing well and have not given up on studying for anything. Online teaching can bear fruits if students themselves are serious enough to study. Therefore, it can be believed to the least damaged class due to switch in mode of teaching from offline to online. It is more or less matter of when and how will their exams be conducted.
So far lot of demerits of online education and how bad students got affected been explored, but this does not mean that online teaching is absolutely inferior to offline mode and so should not exist at all. The observation and my opinion both are based on what is before our eyes due to pandemic. I strongly believe that students could study in online classes no less or even better than offline class, if only we were better prepared for this change beforehand. Online mode has its major advantages too, like cost efficiency because there is no need to travel and reach in person, better management of resources like paper, a chance for the underprivileged to get quality education as well. Every issue with education can be resolved even now if students stop exploring the loop holes in online education and give same amount of effort they used to give in offline mode.
Submitted by Suryaansh Nanda