The current lockdown due to COVID has compelled school administrators and educators to explore newer options to engage with the children. One of them is online content delivery portals. Some schools are faced with a serious threat of dwindling admissions in the immediate academic session including possible closure of the school. Government is busy making textbooks available on the Pathshala portal, use of radio, television, etc. so that the underprivileged children are not disadvantaged.
All these are excellent initiatives but are they good, temporary or permanent solution to schooling ?. Are they good for the overall development of young minds? The answer is NO NO. e-Schooling is not the same as Schooling. Digital content delivery platform is not the same as a brick-and-mortar schools.
Let’s first understand why do schools exist? What is the role of educators? Is it just imparting academic knowledge, skills (in other words delivering content) or something more? Schools, classrooms and educational institutions have played and will continue to play an important role in shaping young minds. Schools help individuals to function as individuals within the groups. Children in schools learn to build & negotiate relationships other than the immediate family. They learn the social and cultural codes that constitute the society. It is important for the child to make friends, learn to play in groups. However hard the parents try, some of these critical skills cannot be imparted in isolation. This isolated learning will impact the overall development of the young mind. This is especially true and an important milestone with children from K-10. Let’s not forget that we human beings are social animals and human beings cannot function effectively in isolation.
e-schooling is only a temporary stopgap for a child to overcome the COVID crisis and cannot be a long-term alternative to brick-and-mortar schools. It is important to know that teachers & schools are not just delivering content in the classrooms, they are shaping the overall personality of the children by providing various co-curricular & extra-curricular opportunities. School administrators & educators should give a serious thought before they think of e-schooling as a long-term alternative measure. Instead, schools should immediately start investing their time & energy in developing safe places for children to attend schools. They should emphasis child safety and build trust within the parent community so that the parents can confidently send their children to schools.
e-schooling in the long run will do more harm in the overall development of the children and is not a solution.