I really think that online classes cannot continue forever. Neither the student nor the teacher is happy. My own wife is a teacher in a local CBSE school. There are online classes conducted from the school and from the residence of the teacher up to standard eight by all teachers. These students are also now fed up and are wanting to come to school.
Firstly, it has increased the workload of parents, more so, if the mother is also a professional, like a doctor, engineer, IT specialist, and so on. The IT people also work from home and there is tension all around. The parents are now working much more than ever before. Sundays are often used for meetings. The Principals are conducting these online meetings, thus eating away whatever little spare time was available to the teachers.
Worse, the online method is a nightmare for those in remote rural areas where internet penetration is still not okay. There is absolutely no continuity in teaching, as the student often misses out on some portion of the lecture. Even in areas where the virus is under control, the parents are afraid to send their children to school.
The students are dazed and confused. Yes. The petrol expenses have come down, there is less crowd on the streets of every town or even big villages. However, the online method can never ever become a substitute for the traditional method where the students get to meet the teacher at all times and clarify doubts. The learning from peers is now becoming difficult and almost nil. It has also lead to indiscipline. Students attend online classes by lying on their beds or from their gardens. The parents are finding it very difficult to feed the children day in and day out. Everything has changed. Life has come a full circle.
However, even after the virus fear is gone by end of 2022, as predicted by experts, and the vaccine is taken by at least ten crore people who are the most vulnerable, the online classes are likely to be the order of the day for another one year. We can possibly see a normal school and college life only in the summer of 2024.
Parents, students, teachers, and educationists need to innovate more. For example, a teacher can be motivated to collect all students to assemble from a four-kilometer radius in a community hall or even the first floor of a local house. That place can be rented, and with adequate social distancing, the classes can be conducted. The School Managements can also take the help of marriage halls in the local area and try renting out these halls on the non-marriage days. Innovation is the real need of the other. If we observe social distancing and use sanitizers and soap and also get ourselves vaccinated, there is no fear that the virus will increase in its intensity.
Online classes can never be a substitute for the formal method of face-to-face teaching.