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Online classes are only for the connected

Privileged students are going online for advanced courses for better prospects.

May 03, 2020 12:14 am | Updated 12:14 am IST

IT Communication - e-learning - internet network as knowledge base

IT Communication - e-learning - internet network as knowledge base

Amid the lockdown, many schools in India have started online classes. But only those who have a smartphone or a computer with a strong Internet connection can access these classes.

Technology has improved life. Some schools are now equipped with smart classrooms. Privileged students are going online for advanced courses for better prospects. But the situation is not equal for all. How could a class be limited to a small number of privileged students, given that a large number of students in the country have no access to a smartphone or the Internet?

A student in Class 12 regretted that his friend would not be able to join the live classes for he has no smartphone. The extended lockdown does not allow his friend to go out of his home to find a way to get online.

It is heartbreaking that a student is deprived of education just because he or she does not have a smartphone or a computer to attend online classes. It is the school that teaches students that they have the right to be treated equally without discrimination and today the same school is running discriminatory classes.

Each of the schools running online classes may have dedicated teachers. They want to provide an uninterrupted learning experience to the students. But the objective here is defeated as it fails to include all students. How helpless would some poor students coming from financially disadvantaged families feel knowing that they are missing out on classes? If it is a government’s directive, every student should have an equal opportunity to attend classes. I fear that it will hurt the poor students.

The value of a year in a student’s life is immense. We had to come up with a “feasible” plan to resume classes as soon as possible but not in the way we do it now. If the system is not accessible by all, the extraordinary method, though temporary, will dismantle harmony among students and discourage the poor students.

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