Busy school days, but from home
The morning begins with last-minute checks on assignments before it is time to attend classes. Class XII students Sagnik Basu and Aanya Mehra have little time to spare in between online lectures and assignments.
Many schools in and around Calcutta are into their second week of online classes. Most students have adapted well to the new system, keeping their research updated before interactive sessions with teachers. The only difference: fewer classes in a day.
“I could not buy all the books for the new session before the lockdown. I was worried I would miss out on some valuable study time. But not only have my teachers started proceeding with the syllabus, this kind of learning is encouraging me to research online and enjoy a new learning experience,” said Sagnik, a Class XII student of St Augustine’s Day School, Shyamnagar.
A lot of hard work and training have gone into the online learning module of the Shyamnagar and Barrackpore branches of the school. “I have trained over 300 teachers from both branches since March 19. Parents were taken into confidence, too. Right now we are holding online classes for classes IV to XII. We plan to include the whole school soon,” said Janette Gasper Choudhury, the president of St Augustine’s Education Society.
The school is offering both recorded study material as well as live classes to students. Two or three hour-long teaching sessions are held for each class every day, followed by interactive sessions with teachers where the students can get their doubts cleared.
The attendance for the live classes is over 70 per cent even for the middle school where most students do not own a laptop and are using their parents’ smartphones, Choudhury said.
Aanya Mehra of DPS Newtown misses school. “It’s our final year and I miss meeting my friends. Some subjects like maths require more explaining. Our teachers are recording lessons using blackboards, teaching aids or creative presentations,” she said.
Principal Sonali Sen said the new method of learning was teaching kids to be more responsible. “Children are becoming more adept at self-learning and research. They are not just dependent on teacher’s lectures,” she said.
Schools are also trying to overcome issues such as poor internet connectivity and data limit of smartphones.
DPS Megacity, Birla High School, Moira Street, DPS Howrah and Krishnagar Public School are some other schools that have started online classes.
“We began by sending our students customised reading material prepared by the teachers. Now we have started holding live classes for classes X and XII,” said Indrani Sanyal, the principal of DPS Megacity.