Student views: ‘Pre, Present & Post Covid Learning Scenarios – Challenges & Way Forward’

Aditya Birla Education Academy hosted an online Master Class:  8 students from Aurangabad, Ankleshwar, Coimbatore, Asansol, Tezpur, Dubai, Mumbai and Bengaluru participated in the panel discussion

Aditya Birla Education Academy (ABEA), Mumbai, part of Aditya Birla Education Trust last week conducted one-of-its-kind initiative by hosting a masterclass – ‘Students Speak: Pre, Present and Post Covid-19 Learning Scenarios – Challenges and Way Forward. The online panel discussion was moderated by Educationist, Lt. Col A Sekhar.

The webinar on May 22, 2020, opened up the floor to students, to share their thoughts, lockdown experiences, aspirations, fears, and visions for the future. They shared their views on the way forward, and what they see unfolding in the future as learners. The discussion yielded a mix bag of views. While some were highly optimistic about scientists finding the cure to this deadly disease and things coming back to normal soon, some recognize that we are in this for the long haul and measures for the continuity of learning need to be set in place.

The students were excited about the transition to online learning. They felt it has immense potential and could even be incorporated into traditional schooling system to seek a blend in learning methods. They felt that as students they feel reassured that their schooling hasn’t stopped, however online learning doesn’t match the entire schooling experience. Now recognizing the importance of a 360-degree education, they felt that during this challenging times, they are missing out on the social experiences, softer aspects, values and the holistic experience including extra-curricular activities that their schools used to provide.

Reliving the memories, many students mentioned that they missed school and can’t wait to go back. Online classes miss out on the classroom interactions, Q&A sessions, and the human touch of their classmates. Seeing small icons on a screen of their friends and sharing emojis to express their emotions just doesn’t feel the same. However, virtual learning does give them the extra time of bonding with their families, pursuing hobbies at home and attending webinars that are out of their studies but very insightful.

Highlighting some challenges of digital classroom, students expressed that it is difficult to ensure discipline in online classes. While teachers are putting in much more effort to curate engaging learning sessions, it is difficult for students to maintain their attention and participate regularly. They feel that there are high chances of this new system to take a toll on their mental health but are glad that some of them have counsellors to speak to. 

Feeling more than grateful to their teachers and calling them the unsung heroes of today, they appreciate that their teachers always available, working longer hours than usual and maintaining the positivity to stride through these tough times.

Ending the session on a positive note, students shared their dreams of equal opportunities to education for all, bridging the digital divide and a safe, fear-free, corona-free world that we will survive together.

Prodipta Hore, Program Director at Aditya Birla Education Academy said, “It is time for us to listen to our future generation and learn, unlearn and relearn from them. Normally we get to hear the instructors and educators. We wanted to give students a platform to share their opinions, highlight the challenges that they are facing and think of ways to rebuild the future. I am proud of these students who have confidently spoken about many critical issues that they are dealing with and coming up with suggestions that could help shape a better tomorrow.”

The eight students who participated included. Anush from Aditya Birla World Academy, Mumbai, Anshula from St. Patrick’s Higher Secondary School, Asansol, Anushcka from Assam Valley School, Tezpur, Akshali from Stepping Stones High School, Aurangabad, Disha from RMPS International School, Ankleshwar, Nikunj from Legacy School, Bengaluru, Srinidhi from CS Academy, Coimbatore and Yash from GEMS Modern Academy, Dubai donned the hat of panelists.