NCERT Survey: Nearly 27% Students Cannot Attend Online Classes

New Delhi: A National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) survey revealed that poor internet connectivity, disruption in electric supply and non-availability of devices — such as laptops and mobile phones — are among the major hindrances hampering students’ online learning.

As per the survey, which is the most comprehensive such study by the Centre, at least 27 per cent students do not have access to smartphones or laptops to attend online classes, while 28 per cent students and parents believe intermittent or lack of electricity as one of the major concerns for teaching-learning.

The survey involved 34,000 participants, including students, parents, teachers and school principals from Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodyaya Vidyalas and CBSE affiliated schools. The situation is likely to be far grimmer at state-funded schools and the poorer private schools where the majority of students study.

Based on these survey findings, recently, the Union Minister for Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal released the Students’ Learning Enhancement Guidelines with proper guidelines and models for three different types of situations.

Only four States have completed mapping of the devices available to students — smartphone, basic mobile, radio, TV, personal or community computer — according to the Students’ Learning Enhancement Guidelines.

Other Key Take-Aways From The Survey:

  • It has pointed out that lack of knowledge of using devices for effective educational purposes and teachers not being well-versed with online teaching methodologies, caused hindrance in the learning process.
  • The survey noted that almost all of the responsive states use physical (non-digital) mechanisms to track the progress of learners with the majority of them either practising home visit by teachers or systematic parental guidance via phone calls.
  • About 36 per cent of the students used the textbooks and other books available with them. Laptops were the second most favoured option amongst teachers and principals. Television and radio were the least utilized devices for the teaching-learning in the pandemic situation. The absence of enriched interaction between the teacher and the students was one of the reasons as identified by the stakeholders.
  • About half of the students stated that they did not have the school textbooks. Although the e-textbooks are available on NCERT website and DIKSHA, the probable reasons behind this feedback are that students are used to studying from the hardcopy of the textbooks, there is lack of awareness regarding the availability of the e-textbook and paucity of devices with students and teachers.
  • Among teachers and principals, 1 per cent found the classes burdensome, over 10 per cent difficult, while a majority found them satisfactory. Nearly 30 per cent of over 6,000 parents surveyed felt the online mode burdensome or difficult, while the rest gave a positive response.
  • The majority of the stakeholders pointed out that mathematics and Science as the subject were difficult to learn via online medium since Science contain several concepts and practical experiments which could only be done in the laboratory under the supervision of the teacher.
  • A few stakeholders also found Social Science as a difficult subject to grasp through online classes. Around 17 per cent of students identified languages as being a difficult subject to learn through online medium.
  • Many students and parents felt the need for Physical Education classes through online mode, as physical fitness is the need of the hour to combat this pandemic, while, 10 per cent of the stakeholders mentioned art education as a subject of concern.

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