A recent study conducted by researchers in Azim Premji University reveals that online classes in government schools in five states proved to be the ineffective mode of learning. The research study titled 'Myths of Online Education' has been released on Tuesday. The field research group at Azim Premji University Foundation undertook a study which covers 1,522 teachers/schools and 398 parents in the public-school system across 26 districts in 5 states. The report says that contrary to the popular beliefs, most parents are eager to send their children to schools and they do not think that the health of their children would be affected in such an event".
Different forms of online teaching in public schools have been implemented in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Karnataka and Uttarakhand have not implemented anything at the state level.
The exclusion of the majority of children due to poor access and the professional frustration of teachers are believed to be the cause of ineffectiveness in online learning, which is revealed in the survey conducted among teachers and parents. The rapid survey report also shows the exclusion of almost 80% of students in public schools due to dependence on technology and the complete lack of support by state governments to deliver online classes digitally.
Major findings of the report show that "60% of students do not have access to online education because of unavailability of a smartphone, multiple siblings sharing a smartphone, difficulty in using the apps for online learning etc.
The issue of lack of access is further worsening for children with disabilities. Among teachers of children with disabilities in their regular classes, more than 90% found them unable to participate in online classes".
"More than 80% of teachers expressed the impossibility of maintaining an emotional connection with children in this mode. Also, more than 90% of teachers responded that no meaningful assessment of children's learning was possible in online classes. 50% of teachers reported that children were unable to complete assignments shared during online classes, which in turn led to serious gaps in learning.
The study aims to explore the attitude of parents and their concerns towards interrupted learning caused due to online education. The findings of the study indicate that around 90% of the parents were willing to send their children to school with necessary health safeguards. And close to 65% believed that schools, when they reopen, would not pose a problem for their children's health.
The Karnataka government has adopted a direct learning process that is similar to 'Vidyagama", which is a continuous learning plan for children in government-aided schools in the state, launched by the educational department around two months ago in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19.
The study endorses "the urgent need to reopen schools in a phased manner with due preparations for the health and well-being of both children and teachers while at the same time encouraging and facilitating teachers to pursue more community-based solutions for direct interactions with children in the interim period.
"Education requires physical presence, attention, thought and emotions, all of them are different for each student, thus we require verbal and non-verbal interactions among