Ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck, it has thrown up challenge after challenge. With the advent of 2021 and cases seemingly under control, life was expected to go back to normal but then the virus began mutating, and here we are looking at a fresh set of Covid-inspired curbs as we enter the third year of the outbreak.
The pandemic took an exceptional toll on children and education as lives as they knew it changed. Gone was the camaraderie found in classes amid shared giggles and lunches, replaced by stoic screens and four walls of homes.
While students experienced difficulty with subjects online, teachers struggled with technology. And now, some students have gone back to school under heavy precautions, others are yet to.
Team VoI spoke to some of these students, teachers and management of a school to gauge the overall impact of the pandemic.
Online Vs Offline
Older students stressed the need for physical classes. Some from Classes XI and XII grades said offline classes are better.
“Online classes made us lazy and we lost confidence,” said Hussain.
“The way of education was completely different before online classes. Covid forced us to adapt and to do it very quickly,” said another student Ansh.
“Omicron has made the situation adverse. We should complete the course as soon as we can as the future seems quite unsure,” said another student from Ankur High School, adding, “Online education was very challenging, the system was new and as we were surrounded by phones, it was very easy to get distracted.”
Suman highlighted the gaps online learning created. “Our concepts were not clear and we were left to learn from YouTube on several occasions.”
“Our teachers were not used to teaching online, so this transition was difficult for them. YouTube helped a lot,” said Adil.
Teachers go back to school
Teachers shared the sentiment with the students and elaborated on the difficulties they faced with the new mode of learning.
“The difficult thing was to help students understand how to cope with technology. We educated ourselves but students had difficulty with the technology,” said R K George, an English Teacher.
“I hope 2022 helps students and we use technology in a better manner.”
“As a language teacher, it was difficult to teach online,” said Zarmar Bhatt, another English Teacher.
Pramod Gagnani, who teaches Maths, said, “The screen is very small compared to the board and it became very difficult to teach, especially big sums. We used to take pictures and videos, so they can learn better.”
“In offline classes, students can ask their doubts very easily, however in online classes due to technical problems, it becomes difficult,” he added.
“I have been teaching Physics for 30 years. For the first time during last year, I conducted practicals online with the help of my assistant,” said Jayesh Purohit, a Physics Teacher.
“We tried to explain the experiments, we performed the experiments for them, but I believe it was difficult for students as certain things cannot be explained on a video call,” he added.
Adapting to a global virus
“Education changed drastically. Some parents were tech-savvy and helped their wards but not everyone was able to adapt to the transition with ease. IN many cases, we had to teach parents as well,” said Himanshu Dodiya, CBSE Principal.
“The pandemic was unheard of before 2019, no one was prepared. We did not know how to deal with it, we were not sure how it would work but the government helped to understand the guidelines,” said Ms Aparna Pancholi, Trustee.
She added, “Online studies were difficult for students and children alike. We assured the parents to not worry about the studies. Our teachers helped students entirely. We had a holistic approach towards education, we had many activities virtually other than classes.”
“We faced financial problems as well. Many parents had lost their jobs and were not able to pay the fees but we supported the parents as much as we could,” added Pancholi.
“When students were not on the campus, the school felt like a body without a soul,” said Pancholi.
Janak Shah, Trustee, Little Flower School said, “God has been kind, the school staff, teachers and students are safe.”
“Schools are in trouble, we had to waive 25 per cent fees and many parents were not able to pay the fees,” he added.
“We are a big family. We have also received wholehearted support from the parents. After the first and second waves, now we are at the brink of the third wave. We were the first ones to start offline classes yet not a single girl has been infected by Covid-19,” he added.