Even as online teaching has become a necessity due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, a survey by the prestigious Azim Premji University has found that a huge majority of teachers found it difficult to maintain an emotional contact with their students while 90% felt it was not easy to carry out meaning assessments from behind screens.
According to the survey, over 80% teachers expressed the impossibility of maintaining emotional connect with children during such classes, thus eliminating the very basis of education.
“More than 90% teachers felt that no meaningful assessment of children’s learning was possible during online classes. Parents have echoed this sentiment with almost 70% being of the opinion that online classes are not effective for the learning of their children,” the survey has claimed.
The varsity released its Field Study on ‘Myths of Online Education’ in Bangalore on Monday. The study was undertaken in 5 states across 26 districts covering 1,522 schools.
The study found an overwhelming majority of the teachers and parents stating that the online mode is inadequate and ineffective for education.
The varsity study also indicated that many parents were willing to send their children to schools with necessary health safeguards.
“Online education is ineffective because of the basic character of education, and not merely because of lack of access to the net and online resources, especially for school-age children. Education requires physical presence, attention, thought and emotions, all to be sewn towards learning goals, step-by step, often back-and-forth, and differently for each student. This requires intense verbal and non-verbal interactions amongst teachers and students, which is possible only in actual classes.’ said Anurag Behar, Vice Chancellor, Azim Premji University.
Rahul Mukhopadhyay and Aanchal Chomal, from the research team that conducted the study, noted that “the study revealed the ineffectiveness of remote learning solutions in providing meaningful learning opportunities, exclusion of majority of children due to poor access, and the professional frustration of teachers.”
The study also revealed the difficulty faced by numerous students due to lack of access to devices like smartphones.
“Over 60% children cannot access online education opportunities; reasons for this include non-availability of or inadequate number of smartphones for dedicated use or sharing, and difficulty in using the apps for online learning. The issue of access is further exacerbated for children with disabilities; 90% teachers with children with disabilities in their regular classes found them unable to participate in online classes,” the varsity said.
The report advocated the need to reopen schools in a phased manner with appropriate precautions for the health and well-being of both children and teachers. In the interim period, teachers could be encouraged to facilitate community-based solutions for direct interactions with children with all necessary precautions, it said.