Remember the good old days when we all used to wait for our teacher to leave the class to go to our best friend’s desk to show them the beautiful new pencil your father had got you from his recent trip? Do you remember when you used to collect and carry the project files of the entire class to the staff room, following your teacher like a pup? School life was beautiful with its lunch breaks and hall passes. COVID-19 has not only disrupted life, but it has killed childhood as well.
Traffic on the road has stopped, but life cannot. And to prevent life from going in the pause mode, schools have started — not in the ‘summer is over and I cannot wait to show my spiderman lunch box to my friends’ way, but ‘here is the link to your class’ way. While staying at home and studying from home are both necessary for a safe future of the younger generation, it is taking a toll on the general development of our toddlers.
According to Wikipedia, “education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion and directed research”. Thus, education is not about just completing the syllabus and learning some theories — it is a life skill! Education prepares one for the society; it prepares one to be a responsible citizen who can contribute something of value to society.
While online classes and schooling can help students learn and finish the chapters in their syllabus, it does not necessarily help them ‘learn’ new things. There is almost no practical aspect of online education. There are hardly any group discussions at the primary and intermediate level, there is no flow of ideas, and there is no reflection on the topics covered. Online education is more of a mechanical process — the teacher gives a lecture and sends a set of notes, while the students copy it in their notebooks and mug up the answers if required.
While online schooling seems like the future of education, I am not sure if this is the way we want our next generation to get educated — sans peers, sans group activities, sans practical knowledge, sans everything! The education system might be able to flourish this way, but our kids certainly aren’t. How will they get to know about socially acceptable behaviour, healthy competition, and the basic etiquette of helping others in need if they are glued in front of their screens, trying to decipher the notes of the class? (Not to mention the health hazards like eye problems, insomnia, headaches, issues related to mental health, etc. that they are being exposed to by being in front of screens the day long). And how can we ignore the digital divide in most of the developing countries where parents cannot afford laptops or smartphones for their kids? A large portion of these parents are uneducated, and no amount of online classes can replace the actual teacher-student interaction for their kids.
Having said this, I want to add that these classes are necessary because many of these kids might need double the amount of work that their parents and teachers had put into them earlier if they stay away from their studies for a year. I know how difficult it is to resume studying after a year-long gap. While I decided to take a break, most of the kids would have to put their studies on hold due to the unstoppable pandemic. The list of cons is double the number of pros here, but one cannot deny that online schooling might be necessary in the given situation of the pandemic.
Social distance is of necessity, and so is learning! What did you think of this blog? Let us know in the comments section below. And if you are looking at learning new things digitally, read our blog on online courses that you can enrol for from your homes and earn some certifications. For more such content, log in to Fuzia.