Returning to classrooms a challenge for children
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Returning to classrooms a challenge for children

February 2, 2022

Parents want both online and offline learning options till kids are vaccinated

By S.T. Ravikumar

COVID pandemic has brought in a sea change in the education system while online learning in these difficult times has saved the loss of education and also saved the jobs of teachers.

Though the big change from offline education to online education was initially difficult for students as well as for the teachers to cope up with as the pandemic was surrounded with bad news and negativity, they adjusted to the new normal. But now, as the schools have reopened, students are hesitant to come back to physical classes.

Many children are addicted to screen time and are facing difficulty in classroom learning. Though online learning has proved itself as an efficient tool, children are finding it difficult to adjust to face-to-face classroom learning. 

With the State Government allowing schools to reopen, parents are still divided on whether to send their children to school since fresh COVID infections are still relatively high. While many parents feel that they could not wait to send their children to schools, others said that it was dangerous as children could spread the infection to elders at home.

Daunting task

Many parents who desperately want to send children back to schools are complaining that their children are showing least interest in getting back to physical classes after two years of onscreen learning. And it is a herculean task for parents to wean away their children from mobile phones, computers and laptops.

Initially, educational institutions adopted online learning as a temporary measure and everyone hoped that things would return to normal after a while, like maybe after a month or so. But little did anyone know that returning to classrooms will take so long.

Counselling sessions

And when finally the classrooms are fully open, there is a deep disinterest among children. This has prompted many parents in Mysuru to take their children for counselling by Child Psychologists and Paediatricians. Some parents are taking their grown-up children to Psychiatrists for advice and counselling.

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What is worrying the parents is that their children are showing a resistant attitude towards everything — be it food, sleep and even playing outside with neighbourhood children. A popular opinion among parents is that neither the Government nor schools should force parents to do anything until kids are also vaccinated. They must be given the option to attend both offline and online classes.

Education experts said that interaction with other students, playtime between classes will help students and they will benefit if they are encouraged to go to libraries and read books, and move away from phones and limit screen time. The big difference between offline and online classes is that children can take part in personal interactions and have more learning opportunities and moral lessons, when it comes to sharing and other activities, said experts. Parents also said that students grasp concepts faster when teachers focus on student interests.

Vaccination & Covid appropriate behaviour will bring normalcy in school

First of all, the fear of COVID must go for the children to gain their normal state. Those children who were leading a secluded life away from schools and friends and addicted to screens will take time to come out of their shells. While increased screen time will heighten their negative aspects and also lead to depression at times, it will also lead to obesity as there is a lack of activity. Many children are also sleep-deprived as they stay up late in the night and nowadays, their numbers at Paediatric Clinics has gone up.—  Dr. S.N. Mothi, Consultant Paediatrician & Founder-Trustee of Ashakirana Hospital

Exerting pressure, scolding kids will not help

Due to lockdown and other COVID restrictions, there has been a problem in concentration. Children cannot focus on their studies. All these months they were glued to laptops, mobiles and TVs. Now all of a sudden they are expected to go to school. We all must give a little time for the children to adjust to their new routine. Do not expect immediate change and change will happen in stages. Exerting pressure, scolding and even beating children up will not help. We must allow their minds to blossom. — Dr. B.N. Raveesh, Professor & Head, Department of Psychiatry, MMC&RI

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More than children, parents need advice

If you beat up your children for failing to adjust to schools or for any other reason, remember that it will only aggravate the situation. Lots of love, care and guidance are crucial in difficult times. If we adults cannot adjust to the difficult times, think of young minds. In fact, more than children, their parents need counselling and psychiatric advice. Parents must try and divert the attention of children from screens to painting, walking, music, dance and other such activities. If you snatch gadgets away from them, it will only have an adverse impact and will lead to depression. And we all know what depression results in.— Dr. M.R. Savitha, Professor, Department of Paediatrics, MMC&RI and Children’s Covid Officer, Cheluvamba Hospital

Not the best time to send children to schools

Going back to school at this juncture will make things only worse for children as the cases are rising and many children are turning COVID positive and have fever. There is an unsafe atmosphere at schools now especially with high infection numbers. Moreover, online is not a good way to teach children. They have to be in a classroom to learn and be in groups of children to be happy and also be happy at home.

Ultimately schools have to start and there are no doubts about it. But at this juncture, it would only harm the children as there is a third wave and opening of schools now is wrong. Numbers need to come down and I would advise the parents not to send children to schools till the numbers are very low. See, before also children used to get fever and cold. But none of them were COVID positive. Since the last three weeks, the number of positives among school-going children is high.—Dr. Rajeshwari Madappa, Paediatrician & Director, Sigma Hospital, Mysuru  


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