The impacts of Covid19 have been observed in every sector around the world. But the biggest affected sector has being the education sector. All the educational activities are blocked worldwide. The year of 2020 has been labelled as ” zero academic year”.
The covid19 lockdown effect has been very challenging for private schools. Despite all the obstacles, private schools have tried their best to impart education through online means. Efforts have been made for the smooth transition to the Virtual world. The use of technology has been considered central to the reform of school education and gained momentum during this PANDEMIC. The students have not been left deprived of education , rather online learning has been the best solution in such grave and unfortunate times. Private schools have tried their best by sprucing up their existing online platforms/apps and training their teachers to optimum level. The teachers conducted video lectures on ZOOM, GOOGLE MEET, YOUTUBE, SKYPE, FACEBOOK etc and study material was provided on WHATSAPP, TELEGRAM, GMAIL from time to time.
However, in this technology savvy world, children belonging to the disadvantaged groups have suffered. Many students have limited or no internet access or unavailability of smartphones, therefore, creating a digital divide between students. Thus, online teaching-learning has enhanced the gap between the Rich and the poor. Thankfully to the rescue of the students from humble backgrounds who are guided at home only, are still facilitated by the private schools through offline material/assignments collection for the sustainable access to the learning. The distant learning strategy is mostly seen getting disrupted by the issues with internet connectivity. A lot of students have complained of the constant buffering in the lecture videos due to 2G network leaving them slightly doubtful regarding the topic. Countless parents have complained of not being informed through SMS regarding the deadline of the assignment submission or answer sheets. As the matter of fact, the students have always been given the relaxation of extension of the due date.
The schools have not only been successful in the syllabus completion in time ,but conducting the exams as per regular schedule without any delay. From primary to higher level, the e-question papers have been sent to their respective portals in GOOGLE CLASSROOM. The students have taken CBT ( Computer Based Test) and vivas to ensure that learning doesn’t halt to the ground. To glorify the efforts of private school administrations, it’s noteworthy to mention about the interaction of the teachers with every student through a phone call. The open book exam conducted online by some schools has been proven befitting for creating the creative minds. Also, the results per term have been declared in a just manner on the basis of the performance of the students. Those who couldn’t receive the question papers due to the technological glitch were given the relief on the basis of assignments and Viva only.
As it’s known that private schools take an exorbitant amount of tuition fees compared to the Govt. Schools, there has been a toll on the spending capacity of parents. The parents have raised a hue on concession of tuition fees at least up to 50% and cancellation of transportation fee at all. The issue of parents working in the private companies or those who have taken a serious financial dip in this pandemic, have got their demands acknowledged. The charges have been lessened for some or completely spared for some. Moreover, admission fee for the next session was also cancelled by many private schools.
If it came as a blessing to the students, on the other hand it came as a curse for the teachers and the other departments of the school. Due to concession in tuition fee, the teachers have not been paid in time or paid only half salary. This has caused the withdrawal of many teachers from the schools. The institutions who couldn’t fulfil their promises of payment have faced the complaints by the students that few teachers come to unprepared lecture for the online classes. Moreover, the earned leave has been cut and many teachers who were on a leave have not been recruited back.
The department , which thought that this would be the end of their line was “The transportation”. As covid19 curtailed the movement of people, it created an unparalleled threat to the survival of the transportation employees. Some drivers have confessed that even though they have been in this business for years they no longer want to return to the work because of frustration. To stay afloat, some schools managed to pay only half salary to them or some could pay only 20% of what they usually earned prior to the pandemic.
The PANDEMIC 2020 has been a hard lesson for private school and has created many challenges for them. Overall, they have managed to do the best they could in such worse times for the students, the teachers and the non- teaching staff as well. If the crises stretch longer, the private schools need to work a smarter plan and take maximum efforts for the betterment of their students as well as employees.