An overwhelming majority of parents have been raising concerns over Karnataka government banning online classes for kindergarten and primary class students. They believe live online classes should be continued but with flexibility and limited screen time. The live online classes, they say, have not just helped them to explore what the school curriculum lacks and the potential of their children but also to support their children more in studies. They add that their children can spare few hours from their ‘TV time’ to learning something ‘more meaningful’.
According to a survey conducted by Advanced Education Services, 80 percent parents believe online classes were beneficial and 70 percent of them say they are not happy with recorded sessions as a replacement for live online classes. A few parents EducationWorld spoke to, also believe online classes are helpful as children can spend some quality time online instead of watching ‘inappropriate’ content. A similar survey was also started by FirstMomsClub, a community for mothers two months ago asking parents about the benefits of online classes. The ongoing survey on Facebook has received great response from parents. Parents say they have been able to track the progress of their child better than before with online classes and also online classes have saved time of travel to school. “It is less exhausting for a child,” says a parent Bidisha Ghosh.
Ruchita Dar Shah, founder of FirstMomsClub, a community for mothers, says, “Initially, during the lockdown, parents were hesitant about online classes. But now, with the lockdown getting extended and children being out of physical classrooms, they are realising that online classes should be held to continue learning, however with limited screen time and some flexibility. They say children should be creatively engaged with some flexibility in online learning module as parents are also busy working from home and the devices may not be available for their children to log in for online classes at the scheduled time. Parents say online classes are better than them watching inappropriate content on Youtube and other portals.” She adds, “As it has been over two months since the lockdown commenced and it is still uncertain when the brick-n-mortar schools will reopen, children can get depressed too. Online live classrooms can bring in discipline in children’s life.”
Some parents feel although it is impossible to replace physical classrooms with virtual learning, conducting online classes with some flexibility is not a bad idea. Suharsh Dikshit, parent of a second grader, says, “I have seen my child go through online classes and I don’t think it can replace offline learning completely as it is not as interactive as the physical classroom. However, a bit of online intervention, provided there is a different workable model with ample breaks and some flexibility is required, to keep learning going.”
Experts say some parents do not find online classes convenient because the schools do not have proper curriculum or model for online learning. Kausar Sayeed, founder, Learn2Lead that works towards empowering preschools by connecting them with experts in the field says, “Many schools have shifted online without proper training of teachers and without any new pedagogy in place, for virtual classes. And that is why parents have been having issues and complaining about online classes. These parents who are complaining are however finding apps such Byju’s interesting as they have engaging content. I can see the demarcation between parents who support and those who don’t clearly. Some parents are happy when online classes by schools are blended with discussions, projects and debates. Hence, it is the quality of online classes that makes a difference. The governments are taking steps to ensure continuous education but feedback about improper online classes from some parents compel them to give out such verdicts without proper research.”
– Akhila DamodaranPosted in National, News