Inadequate number of smartphones, difficulty in using apps important reasons.
A field study by the Azim Premji University on the efficacy and accessibility of e-learning has found that more than 60% of the respondents who are enrolled in government schools could not access online education. The study, titled “Myths of Online Education”, was undertaken in five States across 26 districts and covered 1,522 schools. More than 80,000 government school students were part of it.
The study examined the experience of children and teachers with online education. The researchers noted that non-availability or inadequate number of smartphones for dedicated use or sharing, as well as difficulty in using apps for online learning, were the most important reasons why students were not able to access classes.
Children with disabilities in fact found it more difficult to participate in online sessions.
The researchers pointed out that 90% of the teachers who work with children with disabilities found their students unable to participate online.
The study also found out that almost 90% of parents of government school students surveyed were willing to send their children back to school. However, they said it would be a feasible option if the health of their children was taken care of when schools reopen.
Almost 70% of the parents surveyed were of the opinion that online classes were not effective and did not help in their child’s learnings.
Hurdles faced by students
Teachers, too, expressed frustration with online classes. More than 80% surveyed said they were unable to maintain emotional connect with students during online classes, while 90% of teachers felt that no meaningful assessment of children’s learning was possible.
Another significant finding was that nearly 50% of the teachers reported that children were unable to complete assignments shared during the online classes, which had led to serious gaps in learning. Only around half the teachers reported that they engaged with students daily through online classes. The survey also revealed that around 75% of the teachers spent, on an average, less than an hour a day on online classes for any grade.
Teachers also reported that they were ill-prepared for online learning platforms. According to the survey, more than half the teachers shared that their knowledge and user-experience on online platforms and modes of teaching were inadequate. Another hurdle that teachers found during the online classes was the one-way communication, which made it difficult for them to gauge whether students were understanding what was being taught.
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