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‘To be’ or ‘Not to be’ in the classroom

23 May, 2022 17:11:21
‘To be’ or ‘Not to be’ in the classroom

Scene 1: Shrieks of laughter and chatter wafted from the classrooms, laced in colourful uniforms the children were playing together, reciting rhymes, showing actions in groups, they were ecstatic when they finally went home, constantly blabbering about how they enjoyed school. The very school that they could not attend for almost 2 years during COVID Pandemic, successive Lockdowns and due to measures to stop the spread of infection in the state of West Bengal. The young hearts were happy at last to be back to their classrooms and to their friends. 

Scene 2: Laptops and tabs open, some children unable to enter the online classroom due to lack of connectivity, an irritated teacher trying hard to explain a particular chapter of physics, only to realise some of the students do not have their video mode on and are probably not even present in the e-classroom, though they had given their attendance. Some students fail to understand what the teachers are saying as there is so much noise in the family and they do not have dedicated rooms to themselves like their vibrant classrooms. Their rural counterparts have hardly any access to online classes, some have smartphones but in absence of free internet their parents cannot provide the connectivity. Most of them have hence dropped out of classes. 

Contrast, isn’t it? But which one to choose when the number of cases in West Bengal have come down to a below 1% positivity rate and repeated Norwesters and cyclonic circulations have ensured the heatwave rocking North and Western India is nowhere in West Bengal. However, citing the example of a super hot month suddenly the schools, both government and private were shut down just a month after the children were going physically to their beloved classrooms. The offline mode turned online. In such a scenario what do teachers, parents and students feel? GB recently did a survey to find out how the state government’s sudden decision to bring forth the summer vacation impacted students. Will our children never wish to go back to school or online classes will turn into future mode of education?

“The government decision to declare early summer holidays was not wrong, rather the heat we were facing was affecting children's health. Schools that are not air-conditioned have faced the maximum problem. Now regarding completing the syllabus, that's a big issue, but we have an option for online classes that solves the problem.”

----Malini Mitra, Senior Teacher, Calcutta Public School


“The pandemic has brought a new era in learning through virtual classrooms. Although the transition was difficult, it ensured that imparting lessons do not come to a standstill. Even though early summer holidays were declared, we have learnt that nothing can stop us now from keeping education rolling whether it is a pandemic, heat wave or any calamities of nature. After all, health and safety of children is always a priority."

--- Gargi Roychoudhury, Senior Teacher, Gems Akademia International

“In my opinion, offline classes are the best. Being an educator of senior school for past nineteen years, I feel the offline mode of education allows teachers to monitor responses and behaviour of students and accordingly address them as and when required. Though online classes are more convenient and flexible as compared to the traditional learning platforms, offline classes promote group projects, collaborative learning, hands-on practical lessons and extracurricular skills. But now, since the danger of the pandemic has reduced, I would like all students to get back to their classrooms and opt for an offline mode of education as they are much more productive and you can avoid the harmful radiation of gadgets while going through your books instead of glued to the PC or phone’s screen.”

---- Dr Priyanka Majumdar, Teacher, Delhi Public School, Newtown 


“I think offline education has more benefits than online, as offline education provides a more hands-on approach to teaching. Offline School not only helps in more interactive classes but also develops us socially through interaction with peers. However, in an age when time is valuable, online classes help greatly as the time for travelling to school and back home is avoided and that time can be utilised in self-study hours. However, the benefits of online classes can never overshadow those of offline classes.”

--- Ahir Bhattacharjee, Student, DPS Megacity, Class XII

“I feel there are advantages to both offline and online modes of education. Learning in offline mode has been much more efficient as there is better interaction with teachers and lack of distractions in the proper school environment has helped me to focus more on what is being taught in class. Also, regular interaction with my peer group in school has helped a lot in my overall learning. However online mode of education has had certain benefits, as it has severely reduced travel time to school, and increased the duration of self-study. Overall, I feel, offline classes have provided a better education than online.” 

--- Adriteyo Das, Student, DPS Ruby Park, Class XII


“I prefer offline classes because I miss playing with friends during online classes. Also, I often had difficulties with net connection. I was happy when the school started after a prolonged two years gap and this sudden declaration of summer holidays is disappointing for me.”

---- Soumajit Paul, student of Class VI, Kishore Bharati High School


“I think both online and offline classes have their advantages and disadvantages. For junior class students, offline classes are very necessary since it's through interaction with teachers and friends that they develop cognitive and personal skills. But for senior classes, the online mode of education is better as this saves time to travel and they get time for self-study. Declaring early summer vacation was not a wrong decision and classes can be compensated with the cooperation of parents and school authorities.”

---- Piyali Das, parent of senior class student


“All cannot afford to buy electronic gadgets of high quality and for such students, attending online classes is difficult. I am not contradicting regarding the declaration of early summer vacation as it was difficult for children to attend school in the heatwave. But I think seeing the present weather condition, the schools can open earlier and compensate for the loss of classes. Children must attend offline classes because only offline classes can help in their all-round development.”

---- Sarmistha Dhar, a parent of junior class student  

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