Online classes to transform teaching, learning; but schools/colleges here to stay: ASSOCHAM-Primus Partners Survey

New Delhi: Online classes forced swiftly by Covid-19 pandemic may have brought great opportunity for digital revolution in education and transformation in the role of a teacher, but homes cannot replace schools or colleges as students are missing out on peer-teacher interaction, sports , arts and physical activities during lockdown, an ASSOCHAM-Primus Survey has pointed out.

An overwhelming 88 per cent of the students covered in the Survey, said they were missing out on interactions with their teachers, peers, and friends. As many as 51 per cent students missed their extracurricular activities such as physical education, sports, art, music, and dance. The ASSOCHAM-Primus Survey covered 466 students and 483 teachers in government and private schools /educational institutions across different states.

As schools and other educational institutions were caught off guard , like rest of the society, they resorted to virtual classes with liberal policy and infrastructure support from the Government.

”Thanks to a robust telecom infrastructure, the transition to digital learning was quick as schools and colleges were quite nimble in their response to the national lockdown which came into effect from March 25. However, teaching and learning on a holistic level is not a template which can be copied and file-transferred; this is explained well by the results of the ASSOCHAM-Primus Survey. But then, we need to redefine the role of a teacher in the classroom of tomorrow as students continue to access content, and even learn new technical skills, through a few clicks on their smart phones, tablets, or computers. This may mean that the role of teachers will need to move towards facilitating rather than just lecturing, ” said ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr Deepak Sood, adding ” schools /colleges are here to stay , while learning formats will change, for sure”.

Around 50 per cent of the students, covered in the survey stated that they find it difficult to understand the subject without the classroom environment and teacher present. The home environment, being vastly different from formal classrooms, is often difficult to adjust to and make conducive for learning. They require a space devoid of distractions and interruptions to be able to truly focus on their academics.

Conversely, a smaller size of 37 per cent respondents stated that their concentration is better studying at home. It is safe to presume that this section of students does not seem to face any issues when transitioning from a school to home environment. It is also equally important to assess the quality and effectiveness of the learning materials being provided to the students.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been termed the “great equalizer”, in that it affects all sections of society in all nations across the world. Inequality in education stems from a lack of access to resources which may be attributed to an individual’s or household’s socioeconomic status. In order to completely shift to a remote or online system, it is paramount to ensure that all students have or will be provided with the supportive infrastructure or resources, the findings noted.