When our policy makers decided on making schooling a virtual platform in 2020, every stakeholder’s focus was on digitalisation. Owning the right gadget, navigating the technological process, updating one’s digital know-how, choosing the best Wi-Fi connection — all took precedence. One year later, the same stakeholders — teachers, students, parents — have begun to realise that the new normal will require more than just an uninterrupted internet supply to make schooling a happy, healthy and safe experience.
“Teachers were caught completely unawares”, says Rishikesh BS, member of the NEP implementation committee, Karnataka. “There was inadequate preparation right from the start. We were forced into accepting the new normal without even understanding what we were getting into.”
Training the teachers to be digitally smart took top priority. “But sensitizing the teachers to the trauma of the child? Nobody even thought about it. A major chunk of our school children dread logging on to certain classes. With the constant nit-picking on poor connectivity, bad video quality, late homework submissions, these kids feel that they are sitting in the classroom with a target on their foreheads.”
Says Rachel Ignatius, principal, Choice School, Thiruvalla, “Every human is on the verge of an emotional meltdown today, and children are the worst affected.” Creating a negative ambience in a virtual classroom is, therefore, a complete no-no.
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