'We had to buy an extra phone for the kids to use for their classes!'
For parents, the safety of their children is most important, especially during testing times like these. With the world still grappling with the virus, many educational institutions — schools, colleges, coaching centres — remain shut. As such, parents and kids around the world have no option but to acclimatize to this ‘new normal’.
In India,even as the lockdown restrictions have been partially lifted, the schools are continuing to provide classes online. Parents are, therefore, managing both their professional commitments and their children’s education, with homeschooling having become a substitute for traditional classroom learning.
But recently, over two lakh parents from around the country signed a petition demanding that schools remain shut until the situation has improved, or a vaccine has been made available. The petition followed the government’s announcement that schools,colleges, coaching centres and other such educational institutions will be reopened after discussing with states and union territories in July.
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Parents are understandably concerned; the reopening of educational institutions may put kids at risk. In fact, according to a survey conducted by LEAD School — which is running the largest online school in the country — 85 per cent of parents are worried and anxious about their child’s future prospects. Nearly 60 per cent of parents have said that online learning is as effective as physical schooling. In a previous nationwide survey conducted by ParentCircle, it was found that most parents are not in any hurry to send their wards to schools immediately.
So, it can be said that parents want to wait it out and are willing to face some inconvenience as well, so long as it ensure the safety of their kids. Indianexpress.com reached out to three parents from around the country on what they think about the current situation, if it is hampering their children’s education, and going forward, what they plan vis-a-vis their studies.
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Shabana Sultana, Teacher, Mumbai
“Teachers have been putting in a lot of efforts, and I can say that while homeschooling is good for secondary and senior secondary students, it is not very effective for primary students. While homeschooling my 10-year-old, for instance, I have faced a lot of connectivity issues. Which is why I had to upgrade to the latest technologies which are needed for effective online classes. As a teacher myself, a lot of preparation is needed for these classes.
“Having said that, while I do want to schools to reopen, I also want that to happen after things get back to normal. When I send to my kid to the school, my biggest fear will be that of contamination, and if the school will take proper precautions. I will, therefore, be monitoring his online classes, and continue teaching him at home.”
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Anushree Mitra, Interior Designer, Bengaluru
“Homeschooling during this period of crisis, has changed our approach to education. I believe the innovative techniques of teachers may lead to lasting change, with technology playing a bigger role in schools in the future. I think homeschooling has both advantages and disadvantages. My 14-year-old is not able to physically interact with other kids and teachers. For parents, too, it is a completely new routine which is taking some getting used to. Also, I feel kids are not able to pay complete attention to online classes, and it is not possible for us as parents either, to sit with them throughout and make sure they are attentive.
“But, I do not want schools to open up right now. Kids are kids, they will not adhere to the safety norms when they step out of the house. So, I want my child to stay at home, and I want to provide him with all the necessary things for this education. And I also want to spend more quality time with him, which I wish I had before the pandemic.”
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Smita Jha, School Coordinator, Ranchi
“I have two kids, aged 14 and 12. I am glad that the studies are happening, albeit online. But, I am also troubled by the fact that the kids are on their phone the whole day, for their classes and other online activities. This causes stress to the eyes and leads to headaches. I also feel kids are not able to take it as seriously as they would have, had they been in schools. We have limited resources at home, and they have to be shared now between parents and children. We had to buy an extra phone for the kids to use for their classes!
“The government should not even think about reopening schools, because it poses a huge risk for kids’ health. The cases are increasing every day; my biggest fear is what happens when a child gets infected? Right now, as parents, that is all we think about — on how to keep kids safe. And if they go back to schools, parents will not know how they are behaving there. So, even if the schools do reopen, as a parent, I will not send my kids back, yet.”
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