Globally, there are over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, giving rise to e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms.
Major Challenges and Concerns
Giving a global perspective, UNESCO noted, “Half of the total number of learners — some 826 million (82.6 crores) students are out of the classroom and do not have access to a household computer and 43 percent (706 million or 70.6 crores) have no internet at home, at a time when digitally-based distance learning is used to ensure educational continuity in the vast majority of countries.”
Besides this, various other challenges are being faced like alarming concerns for potential dangers of internet exposure for young children, distance learning for students with disabilities, the security of students, etc.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which is engaged in humanitarian aid for young ones around the world, On 15 April, said, “Millions of children are at increased risk of harm as their lives move increasingly online during the lockdown in the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Many of the issues have also been highlighted by some of the teachers and parents related to distance learning as-
- Education towards Freedom..(Aatma Nirbharta)
- ‘I didn’t know my voice would be all over the country’; Jasleen Bhalla, woman behind the Corona tele-warning
Concern for Students with Special Needs
Jane, who has been doing special education for 4 years now in a public school in Las Peña’s. Described how she would execute a distance learning approach for her students with special needs. Jane said, “Teaching students with special needs is different from teaching regular students and requires special attention and special education (SPED), teachers are the only ones trained to do that”, she added.
She also mentioned that distance learning would be a struggle for the students and parents as parents are busy in works and also some students with special needs do not respond to non-human interactions and human contact is necessary. She also raised concerns as many of the students also do not have access to internet facilities and computers.
The adaptation of distance learning for special education may prove to be challenging and will also be challenging for teachers in figuring out how to teach in the best way to physically challenged students.
Security of Children
A family in New Jersey told Patch that a change to the chat setting in the G-Suite program used by the Troy Hills Schools district, being made without notifying parents, which left elementary children vulnerable to inappropriate content and conversation. Kimberly Frank and her husband told that their nine-year-old daughter was contacted by high school boys via the school distance learning program and that when they went to the district their concerns were not taken seriously.
Frank informed this begin when her daughter mentioned chatting with her new friend about video games. But wasn’t one of her classmates at Mt. Tabor Elementary School; he was in high school chatting with her through their distance learning program.
After numerous attempts about her pleas for answers to school officials and speaking with her daughter’s teacher and principal, Frank was told that the decision was made to allow communication with students beyond the child’s classroom – including students of other schools in the district to allow kids to socialize while they are unable to attend school.
Frank said. “I received no communication that this change was made and was unaware that our daughter was able to communicate with older children and vice-versa,” she said.
Quality of Education and Access to Resources
Moving back to India, Manoj Kumar, a teacher in “Delhi University” informed, “Since the classes have started but students have faced many problems. Students, who are in cities only, have good access to the internet but those who move back to their villages are facing internet issues and are unable to attend the classes.” And many others also raised concerns that many students do not have access to devices and internet, also have power connection issues, no learning environment, and that many students also do not have access to study material and also not able to understand concepts through virtual classes.
A volunteer Indian tutor Madhu Sehgal realized that her kindergarten students will forget what they learned during the lockdown. So she came up with an idea that she will teach students from her balcony and asked students to come up with their desks and chair and sit in front of her balcony and it worked. The kid and their parents are supportive and happy with the idea.
So, these are not only the issues which arise but there are many more around the world and how it affected the life of the students and others.