Education has taken a backseat in the last one year due to Covid-19. After the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) cancelled the Class 12 board exams, we discussed with experts the roadmap of education in future.
CitySpidey spoke with Deepa Kumar, founder of One More School, Gautam Kumar, member of the Delhi Parents' Association and Mitali Roy, a psychologist. The talk session started with the question "How the schools reacted to the changing scenarios, extension of lockdown and the cancellation of 12th boards", to which Deepa Kumar said that lockdown has affected the whole system of learning process. She said that at every stage kids get to learn different things so the educational process can't really afford a gap.
In the last one-year things have changed drastically, and schools have adapted the pattern of online teaching. Deepa highlighted that the techie teachers and students could adapt the new system but pan India most of them couldn't get along with these online platforms. Thus, increasing the gap between the teacher and the student. The decreased social interaction and the lessened one-on-one interaction has led to anxiety, fear and depression.
During the session, it was discussed what roles the parents and teachers could play to balance the minds of the youngsters. The parents had to manage their work and at the same time keep a check on their children whereas the teachers kept adapting themselves to make online classes better.
Even though offices and transportation got normalised after the first wave of Covid-19, schools didn't reopen keeping in mind the safety of children. Parents and teachers were still concerned about the lockdown hampering their child's education and future. Mitali Roy was asked about how this situation had a psychological impact on the parents as well as the students. She explained that online classes have decreased the interaction that a child used to have when schools were open. She further talks about the disturbed routine that the kids have adapted to during the lockdown period. Sharing some common issues, she said that the kids complain about sleeplessness, loss of appetite, binge eating and even fear-based anxiety.
"The children have been affected emotionally drastically. The decreased interaction has induced behavioural and psychological changes in them, and this has happened majorly in the second wave of Covid-19," said Roy. She added that the second wave didn't seem like a gifted vacation to the kids anymore. The isolation from the same age group of children caused depression in them. Children have seen their near and dear ones worried and mourning the loss of their loved ones. Sometimes the parents talk about their financial issues in front of their kids and these young minds have developed anxiety and depression.
Roy shared her experience when a parent complained that their child was paranoid about stepping out of the room, and denied food in the fear of getting infected with coronavirus. She talked about another case of a specially-abled child whose movement got restricted because of the lockdown, and that has a direct impact on the health. Roy said, "For a parent the struggle is to keep their child safe and they get uncomfortable when they see their child struggling."
Gautam Kumar, a member of the Delhi Parents' Association, raised some relevant issues that the parents and the students faced during the lockdown. These issues talked about the accessibility of devices on which the online classes took place. He shared his own experience by saying that he has two kids who are in different age groups, one of them studies in Class 3 and the other one studies in Class 10. The issue faced by him as a parent was that there was only one Android phone in the house. The timings clashed as both had their classes starting at 8 am. He was always in a difficult situation due to this. With this, he also shared issues that the less-privileged children faced. Firstly, he said, they did not have access to such devices and secondly, they started to migrate. For them it was a total cut-off from learning. He shared that the people who had phones faced network issues as not every child was privileged with a WiFi connection at their homes.
The conversation got interactive as it moved forward. Parents, students and teachers joined as viewers. Prateek, a viewer, commented that screen time of the students had drastically increased during the lockdown. Gautam highlighted how online classes affected the kids of varied age groups differently. He said that it has been noticed that the younger section of kids couldn't connect to the teachers online, their concentration decreased and eventually they shifted to watching cartoons. The middle aged kids kept their books aside and got into gaming and social media. The children who were to appear for board exams started suffering with anxiety and fear.
The viewers eagerly asked questions about the Class 12 board exams that were called off. A question arose whether the three hours exam pattern is a necessary factor to measure a child's knowledge and overall capabilities in the current situation. Deepa Kumar answered that she believes in regular assessment but the three hour pattern prepares a child for a lot more than just getting fair marks. She also acknowledged the fact that the pattern needs to be re-addressed and talking pedagogically, new learning systems need to be developed.
She said that the children need to adapt to the new systems, as no one knows when the pandemic will finally end. The discussion also included how the expected third wave could impact the system and how we need to look forward in maximising the availability of teaching and learning tools and minimising the learning gap between teachers and students.
To know more about this, watch the full video.