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Online classes amidst coronavirus outbreak

March 16, 2020

As India recorded the biggest single-day increase with 25 people testing positive for coronavirus on Sunday, several schools and varsities have shut down their campuses up till March 31. Exams are cancelled for classes I to VIII while exams for classes IX and XI have been postponed in most of the states until further notice. However some educational institutions have started leveraging technology by hosting online classes to complete the curriculum. 

Disadvantaged children are the worst-hit by the emergency measures, declared UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay in the wake of COVID 19. “While temporary school closures as a result of health and other crises are not new, unfortunately, the global scale and speed of the current educational disruption is unparalleled and, if prolonged, could threaten the right to education,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Edtech organisations such as Great Learning and Aakash Educational Services Limited (AESL) have been providing online classes to their students. AESL’s subsidiary, Meritnation, has announced it will be providing special free live classes for students. Pavan Chauhan, Founder, and CEO of Meritnation said, “Studying in one’s own home does require a certain basic level of discipline, but if a student can bring that, there are tremendous gains that are possible. In a situation of academic disruption, we will work with schools to offer our Live Class platform to help them conduct their classes for students at home.” He further added, “Our sessions will be interactive allowing students to clear doubts, ask questions and be able to address their queries & anxieties.”

Taking serious note of the global widespread of COVID 19, Amity University has “called off” all face-to-face classroom activities. The faculty is teaching live online as per the existing timetable using the Learning Management System and Virtual Classroom system of the University. Dr. Savita Mehta, Vice president- Communications, Amity University told EducationWorld, “We have already started online classes and every faculty has been provided with a unique ID. The faculty will come to know how many students have logged in at a particular time. The faculty is at the university as they will be using LAN to conduct the classes, which will be recorded in case any student misses it, then they will have access to the lecture. We also have our exams scheduled for mid April and we were going to have a preparatory break from April beginning hence we have to finish the course work. As for exams, we will have to see what the situation is then or else we will hold online exams.” Regular fumigation and medical screening of people entering the campus is also being carried out as a preventive measure. 

Amity University

On a similar note, Naveen K M, managing director, Trio World Academy said, “To mitigate the COVID – 19 school closure, has commenced distance learning through the school app – ERP to help the students. Teachers will be uploading the audio-visual links, worksheets, and homework on ERP which can be accessed by the students by clicking on the “notice” tab. Through Webinars and educational technology like Edmodo, the school will be sharing material, feedback and other assignments for subjects such as Math, Science, English and Humanities.”

Amarendra Mishra, principal, KC Public School Jammu explained, “As per government guidelines, all schools have been closed down. Our staff, who are coming to school are wearing masks and we have made arrangements for hand sanitisers at the entrance of the school. All have been instructed to enter the school after having sanitised their hands. With regard to exams, we have cancelled them up to IX and will conduct the class XI exams on reopening in April.”

Arjun Nair, co-founder, Great Learning tells us, “In the wake of the global outbreak of COVID 19, we have made our learning content available free of cost on our platform, Olympus, till April 30. Students and working professionals who want to get started in learning career critical skills in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning can access this content for free here We are witnessing increased interest in these now, with several professionals who have signed up and started learning. The key driver being professionals and students realising that they have more time on their hands and are using it to prioritise learning. We are witnessing many professionals kick start their learning in Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Cloud Computing by signing up on Great Learning Academy.”

LEAD School co-founder and CEO, Sumeet Mehta, said, “We believe that continuity and integration of learning are vital to our goal of imparting quality education to our children. While schools may have to consider closing due to the outbreak of COVID-19, LEAD School is supporting all its partner schools to ensure that students do not stop learning. Our integrated system allows us to know the unfinished units in each grade across all our schools and helps us serve up the modules as required online for course completion before exams.”

Vedantu is joining hands with schools in Bangalore, New Delhi and Kerala to help provide uninterrupted classes to their students by providing Live and personalised learning classes, says CEO & Co-Founder, Vamsi Krishna. other edtech companies like BYJU‘s and Unacademy too are following suit.

Sukanya Nandy

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