Schools have returned to online mode of teaching. The switch has brought with it old problems like irregular network services and poor attendance, said teachers.
At least one city school has decided to close early for the summer vacation and reopen a week early in June so that they can hold in-person classes.
The Heritage School, where online classes are being held, has informed parents that they have brought forward the summer vacation by a week. This is the last working week for the students before the summer vacation.
The school will reopen a week earlier in June. The tests scheduled in May will now be held in June.
Calcutta Girls’ High School has also decided to give an early summer break to students of classes III and IV who will attend their last online class on Friday.
Students up to Class II have already been given an early vacation.
“There were tests scheduled in May but we have shifted them to June. We want the students to appear for in-person tests. In an online class the formal setting of a classroom is always missing,” said Seema Sapru, principal of The Heritage School.
Schools shifted to online mode following a government circular that ordered the commencement of summer vacation in schools from May 2 in view of the heatwave in several districts, except those in the hill districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong.
Several private schools received calls from government officials asking them whether they were continuing with in-person classes or had switched to online mode.
A meeting was held at Bikash Bhavan between representatives of the state government and principals of private schools that have been conducting offline classes. The heads were asked either to advance the summer break or shift to online lessons.
Over the last two years students had been attending online classes because of the pandemic with brief breaks in between.
The problems of spare devices is now more acute then before, said teachers.
“With two children having to attend online classes and parents back to work, there is a scarcity of spare devices for online lessons,” said Sapru.
Poor attendance in class, low concentration and logging in and out of class are some of the problems that are back, several teachers said.
In one school, students have been asked to log in during the online assembly period or else they will be marked absent for the day.
The gaps in learning are more in junior classes where there are attention lapses, said teachers. “Online classes depend on verbal teaching with a limited scope for interaction,” said Terence John, principal of Julien Day School Kalyani.
Parents in several schools had been requesting for in-person classes. “There is a tendency among some students to switch off cameras to stay away from classes,” said Amita Prasad, director of Indus Valley World School.