Maharashtra: Board aspirants deal with new challenges as exams approach
Over the last few days, 15-year-old Santosh Shirke has been chatting with his class teacher over the phone almost every day. Santosh, a Class 10 student at an aided school in the city, migrated to his hometown in Lanja, Ratnagiri in April 2020 after his father lost his job in a private manufacturing unit in Bandra. A diligent student who has almost always topped his class in the past, Santosh could not attend online classes due to poor connectivity in his hometown. With state board exams drawing close, he now relies on phone calls to teachers and his friends to get his last-minute queries addressed. “I could barely attend a few classes and despite studying hard, some concepts are still difficult to grasp for me. Thankfully, my teachers have been a call away to solve my issues all this while,” he said.
With the disturbances caused due to the pandemic and the resultant lockdown, children who are set to appear for their Class 10 and 12 board exams are anxious. With schools moving online, their methods of study have also changed significantly. Group studies with friends, doubt solving sessions with teachers and personal tuitions are replaced with video and phone calls, online exams and peer support over WhatsApp.
Vivaan Shah, a Class 10 student at Campion School in south Mumbai, said it has been a difficult year for students like him who are set to write their board exams this year. “To begin with, we cannot make a distinction between home life and school life with school moving online now. This means there are a lot of distractions at every point. If you pick up your phone to attend a class or solve a test, you end up browsing the internet or replying to messages. Besides, the breaks that a physical school provides by allowing us extracurricular activities is something that we all miss,” he added.
Even as physical meet-ups are not feasible considering the associated risks, students are finding their way around with the help of technology. For instance, Aashima Soni, a Class 10 student from Hiranandani Foundation School in Thane, said she relied on online coaching and her friends and school chat groups for academic support. “It is always nice to call or text a friend in case of a query. We have these conversations in person in school but now that schools are online, it is best to take our conversations online too. We solve tests, do revisions and a lot more and keep each other in the loop,” added Soni.
At Sanjay Nagar slums in Jogeshwari (East), nearly 50 students are appearing for their Class 10 and 12 exams this year. Local activist Durga Gudilu started conducting guidance sessions for these students in the common hall of the community.
“Our aim was to give these students a boost so that they forget anxieties for a while and focus on exams. We hope that by studying together, they can motivate each other. Our tutors help address queries too,” she added.