Many parents take children out of private schools

Online classes may be the new normal for schools now, but not everyone is happy about this model. Many parents have decided to take their children out of private schools for the current academic year.

While some parents say they want to give their children a ‘gap year’ during the pandemic, others who are unhappy with the online mode of teaching have decided to home-school their children.

Can online learning replace the school classroom?

Financial constraints or a worry that too much screen time will have a negative impact are the other factors at play here. A marketing professional from Benglauru, who has decided to pull his three-and-half-year-old son from school, said. “There was insane pressure on parents to ensure that homework was completed and submitted on the portal daily. There were a minimum of four periods every day, with only a 30-minute break for lunch. We felt it was a horrible thing to make a child, who is not even four, to sit in front of a computer to attend classes every day,” he said.

Education Online learning: The medium of tomorrow

He also acknowledged that it is not feasible for working parents to supervise their children during online classes. “I find that in online classes, teachers do not acknowledge that children learn at their own pace. We don’t want our child to join the rat race so early in life,” he added. He and his wife have decided to homeschool their son for a limited time every day.

Sandhya Viswan, who started Homeschoolers’ Nook, a social media page to build a community of parents who homeschool their children, has observed increasing interest in this form of education.

Education Online or offline?

She has been fielding queries from parents over the last few months, once people realised that the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases was not going to drop any time soon. “The number of parents who have approached me to discuss homeschooling has almost doubled in the last few months. From an average of a hundred enquiries every month, it has risen to 200,” she said. Many families also say that they have no choice but to remove their children from school as their salaries have taken a hit or they have lost their jobs.

Appanna P.P., who lost his job, said his daughter, who is in Class 6 in a school for children with special needs, has been unable to attend online classes since last month as he has not been able to pay the fees.

“Government schools do not provide a conducive environment for students with special needs and I can no longer afford the fees of a private school. So my child will ultimately lose an academic year,” he said.

Rishikesh B.S., associate professor at Azim Premji University, said that while a ‘gap year’ can help a child if it is planned well, parents must be able to provide all the resources that will help them engage in activities that will lead to their cognitive development. “If not planned well, it will lead to a gap in the student’s life where they will be left behind compared to their peer group,” he said.

Online classes: the yearning to go offline

While affluent families may be able to weather the storm, people from lower income groups don’t have that luxury. “In a society like ours, where more than a quarter of the population is in extreme poverty, other evils such as child labour, bonded labour and child abuse can ensnare the child,” said Mr. Rishikesh.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 9:00:07 PM |

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