Majority of Guwahatians Feel Online Classes Extended by City Schools Not Proving Beneficial
On 16th March, the central government declared a nation-wide lock-down of schools and colleges to control the spread of COVID-19. This led to fear amongst students as their academic year was approaching its final days with lakhs of students across the country eagerly waiting to appear for board and final examinations. Anxiety among pursuing higher education also began to grow with no sign of colleges reopening any time soon.
Various state and central boards of education announced special guidelines to keep students connected with academia. In Guwahati too, efforts are being made to ensure that students do not miss out on too much during this lockdown period. Teachers are taking the pain of doing their research and conducting online classes, despite work at home, and students sit in front of computer screens and mobile phones to learn and interact. All this is being done to make the most out of available resources in such testing times.
G Plus conducted a poll on its social media channels and asked Guwahatians whether current online classes extended by the city schools are proving to be beneficial for students.
More than 2,400 people participated in the poll which resulted in only 26 percent of people saying that online classes were beneficial. A whopping 74 percent of the poll participants signalled towards online classes not being beneficial for students in Guwahati. Netizens actively commented on G Plus’s Facebook page after casting their votes in the poll conducted on May 13.
In response to the question asked in the poll, one Facebook user Ananya Hazarika, expressed her views, “Being a teacher I can say that it is not easy for us as well. But we are trying our level best to deliver the most out of the least. We are preparing lesson plans, homework, taking workshops on online classes, preparing for assessments, preparing presentations every single day. Although we have a bonding in the classroom, the same bonding isn’t possible through a screen. Parents are being very supportive as well. And the students are being at their best and understanding. It’s better to learn something than nothing even in this time of crisis. We the Teachers Fraternity are doing our level best even with the household chores.”
Another Facebook user Partha Chakraborty worriedly said, “Nothing beneficial on such classes... rather its beneficial for schools as they can show that their staff and teachers are working in lockdown and will charge fees as usual but ultimately the main hard works are done by the parents itself.”
The Assam government had directed all educational institutions in the state not to increase fees during the coronavirus pandemic and to waive fifty per cent fees for the month of April from pre-primary to Class 12, despite which there are fears among people that online teaching and learning process would give educational institutions a free pass to charge higher fees by showing off their e-learning systems. Amid these doubts, the state government declared that no increase in the school fees without the prior approval of the government during the pandemic would be allowed.
A teacher of Northeast Public school, commented on Facebook, “As a teacher it is difficult for us as well to explain a 3-page chapter to the children, without having any eye contact, there is no interaction ... It’s very difficult for us to conduct online classes. While explaining in the class we try to give so many examples but this way it's totally not possible.”
On problems of network connectivity, one netizen, Kaustav Kashyap, took to Twitter saying, “Not all sections of students are benefitted with the online classes. It does not reach to every corner as a lot of problems are there, like poor network, lack of good smartphone, lack of proper electricity, high data cost.” He added, “Online classes don't have practical gains.”
An Instagrammer, Divyanjana, who goes by the name of fervent_lass highlighted the plight of students pursuing higher education. “Only pouring in extra stress. Some of us are not able to get stationery items to start our practical works, and yet we have been given deadlines to submit them online,” she commented.