Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 25, 2020
The prevailing health crisis brought about by COVID-19 pandemic has brought about the need for innovative methods of learning and online education portals. Online learning is only possible if every child and household has access to high-speed internet. And in India, not every child and household have access.
Syed Saifullah, a founding partner of Gateway Public School in Vaniyambadi, Tamil Nadu, told The Ancient Times that online learning cannot match classroom education. He said there can never be a balance or even a closer match between the real physically present classrooms and online learning.
Qazi Zahoor Ahmed, the vice-chairman of Holy Faith Presentation School in Srinagar, Kashmir, is also of the same opinion. Zahoor said while online learning is a good platform for students and teachers in this pandemic time. “But it can never be an alternative to regular classroom teaching. A digital device can never replace or match a teacher,” he said.
A professional software engineer and businessman, Saifullah believes no matter how much advanced the education systems become, there is still an upper hand for all the real feelings and emotions shared and skill learned in the classroom community. Zahoor says a teacher understands his students well enough to impart education to them according to their individual interests and ability. “Students engage in various co-curricular and sporting activities during school hours which cannot be achieved in online classes, wherein students sometimes don’t show any seriousness regarded their lessons.” He said only a meagre number of students attend online classes through platforms such as Zoom and WhatsApp etc.. Saifullah is grateful to technology for bridging communication gap between school and parents and teachers. “Thanks to technology and tech geeks for introducing various tools and channels for helping us remain in touch and connected with our students.” The founder partner of Gateway Public School said the pandemic has made people and communities realize the value and importance of schools. “Schools are the only reliable institution for every child irrespective of their age and being.”
Zahoor feels the pandemic has impacted every aspect of live and the worst affected have been the small children who need special attention and care during teaching and learning. “In the initial days of the nationwide lockdown, school students were badly hit as there was no concrete system for online classes. Students were not able to get study material or regular counselling from the teachers. This led to a lot of problems for the students who were devoid of regular classroom interaction.” Zahoor said with the absence of immediate medicine or vaccine for COVID-19 learning and education of children is suffering.