The minister also stressed that the government had taken this decision after consulting senior educational experts, psychiatrists and private schools association representatives who underlined that these classes are not an alternative to classroom teaching. Infact, online teaching may even prove to be detrimental to a child’s mental health, given it leads to increased screen time and puts unwanted strain on little ones.
A relief for parents and children
The decision to ban live online classes has certainly come as a huge relief for both kids and parents as the mental pressure and increased screen time to catch up with the syllabus during a pandemic isn’t exactly conducive for little minds.
Even as schools and educational institutions have made online lessons their go-to solution to resume classes despite lockdown, the decision does not seem to be well thought-through. In addition to their short attention spans, the idea of learning through an online medium certainly pales in the comparison with a traditional classroom as there is no interaction with peers or any active engagement.
Unlike adults, the mind of a child is not made to sit in front of a laptop for an extended amount of time and follow the instructional videos–many of which are not exactly interactional at this point of time. As little ones stay confined to their homes and screens owing to the pandemic, online classes only put further burden on the young minds.
A brilliant alternative to online class for children during a pandemic
We spoke to Dr Chetan Ginigeri, Consultant – Paediatrics & Paediatric Intensive Care, Aster CMI Hospital about the decision of banning online classes by the Karnataka government. He said that this is the time to nourish the minds of little ones on things beyond their syllabus like how do things function on this planet? Who gets the daily groceries? Where does milk come from? and so on.
He further states that kids are already missing their social life and the normal school days as its been a while that they are at home and burdening them with core educational content will make it even duller and boring for them. The only things which will hold on to their attention and make some difference are delivering life skills through online videos. This can also be achieved through storytelling as it might be more interesting for them. They need to be engaged in social interaction where they can meet and greet others and socialise. Children can be engaged in DIY projects and made to demonstrate them through the platform.
“So in a way, it is a good decision to not have online classes, but one should use online mediums to engage with the children of that age group in a more productive way that would add on to their life skills. As long as we do not engage them actively it becomes difficult to grab their attention. Kids at this age cannot be passive learners for a long time that too in a very impersonal medium,” he concludes.
Karnataka education minister had also underlined that strict actions will be taken against private schools if they collect extra fees for online classes and they will be requested not to increase the fees for the academic year of 2020-2021, keeping in mind the financial stress caused by the pandemic.
While online classes are bound to stay suspended, a committee is currently working on preparing guidelines on how to engage students and increase their knowledge. The committee is headed by Prof. MK Sridhar,” said S. Suresh Kumar. On the other hand, pre-recorded classes can continue for students till grade 5 and a committee has been created to provide guidelines for classes 6 to 10.