Online lessons can’t replace in-person classes: Principals
Most schools said that while the annual shutting of classes due to pollution levels is not a feasible solution, they are better placed this year due to an existing framework that allows them to switch to online classes at a short notice.
Schools in Delhi welcomed the Delhi government’s decision to restart primary classes from Wednesday, following an improvement in air quality leading to the lifting of Stage IV restrictions under the Graded Response Action Plan (Grap) on Monday.
On Friday, the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education (DoE) had directed that primary classes remain closed till Tuesday in view of ‘severe’ AQI levels.
Most schools said that while the annual shutting of classes due to pollution levels is not a feasible solution, they are better placed this year due to an existing framework that allows them to switch to online classes at a short notice. However, they said that while online classes ensure continuity of learning, they aren’t a replacement for classroom learning, and even after the resumption of offline classes earlier this year, many schools continue to hold remedial classes online.
Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive School Conference (NPSC) and the principal of ITL School, Dwarka, said her institute conducted online lessons for children in primary classes on Monday.
She said while parents are not in favour of online classes, they are a recourse available to schools in circumstances where the fate of schools is decided on the basis of AQI levels. She added that her institute would continue to hold online classes if curbs are reimposed.
Tania Joshi, principal of The Indian School, said parents are keen on the resumption of offline classes, since children often struggle with online classes.
“Parents are not keen on online classes, but we have to abide by the government’s directive. Pollution will continue to prevail for some more months. If closure orders are imposed again, we will switch to online classes. Some learning is better than no learning,” she said.
While most private schools switched to online classes for Monday and plan to take the same route for subsequent closures, if any, government schools might face challenges arising out of the digital divide and accessibility.
Awadhesh Kumar Jha, principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya, Rohini, Sector 8, said, “If the pollution situation deteriorates, we are left with no option except for restriction of outdoor activity and resumption of online classes.”