LUCKNOW || It’s been more than four months now that kids are off their schools. Stranded home due to the Coronavirus, the children, of all age and sizes have started to feel bored due to the closure of schools. What is irking them further is the fact that there seems to be no end in sight for this.
Intelligently, school authorities have taken the digital route and have started to online classes. Children now are busy but with the government of India issuing fresh guidelines on the time limit to these classes, the kids are again with dimmed spirits.
“The only positive aspect of attending online classes is that we don’t have to get up early in the morning“, says Adeeba Ansari of class 6, student of Senior Secondary Cathedral School, with a brimming smile on her face.
Getting up early, before the sunrise, packing bags, eating breakfast and waiting for the school bus to reach school on time used to be a challenging task for students before this pandemic took place. She further says, she had to get dressed up in the school uniform to attend her online classes. Attendance is compulsory for all the students.
There are usually 3-4 classes in a day and 15 min break is given after each class. YouTube links, pdf files, videos and voice notes are forwarded in the Whatsapp group by the teachers to help the students to understand the topic better.
But, one of the major hurdles of online learning is internet connectivity. If the network goes off, you’re left behind. Notebooks have been replaced by laptops and smartphones with high Internet speed. However, many students are not able to utilize this way of learning because they don’t have access to such facilities.
They are helped by teachers and classmates over phone calls. Luxuries have now become the necessities.
“With the downfall of the jobs, we are facing financial issues. I am a mother of two children and I have to look after both of them. The minimal availability of gadgets makes it difficult for my children“, Huma Bano, mother of Adeeba told The News Agency.
The 11-year-old girl ends up saying “I can read and learn anytime I want as all the online material is there in the Whatsapp group but I miss going to school and meeting my friends. I miss the fun we used to have together“.
“Virtual education is easy to access but nothing can be compared to the real world of schooling. Several kinds of lessons are taught outside the classroom as well. Maintaining discipline and keeping a check on every student becomes a difficult task for teachers“, says Maria Hussain, a junior school teacher in old Lucknow.
Sudiksha, a class IVth student at Studyhall, Gomtinagar says she finds online classes interesting though she misses meeting her good old’ friends. “Normal school was more fun…we would play in the break, share our tiffins and what not…all that has sadly stopped since March” the 10-year-old rues. Then she points out, she doesn’t have a mobile of her own and has to take classes on the mobile phone of her mother.
“My dad has promised me a my-own phone. Things will be fine then but I pray to God that this pandemic goes away soon and that we return to our normal ways of life” she says with a chirp.
Saish, a class IXth student of a city school too is cut up with the closure of schools. He misses his friends and the mischiefs!
“A month or two was okay but now it’s more than four months…the holidays have gone a bit beyond the comfort level,” he says with a naughty smile.
Other than studying, he tells us that he plays online games with his buddies, something which is not mostly taken well by his parents.
“But what else to do?” he asks. In times of COVID, I guess the answer is not much but stay home!
— Mohd Haris Siddiqui/Lucknow
(The writer is doing internship with us and is pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication at Azaz Rizvi College of Journalism and Mass (ARCJMC), Lucknow)