TW: Mention of suicide.
Since the arrival of the pandemic and the outset of the lockdown, we have been noticing some new adaptations.
Right now, we’re witnessing a ‘new normal’. A new set of guidelines have been given for us to follow in every sphere of life. Rules and regulations have been tremendously changed. Most of the things have gone online
In this new world of digitization, regular classes have been transformed into online classes. It sounds cool; our wards are attending online classes. Different online courses have also been made available free of cost for not only students but also for elders to pass the time fruitfully. Many have also acquired knowledge about different subjects and adopted skills by learning online.
Everything is easy up to this. Private schools and colleges are running their classes on the Zoom App. However, this seems to be the smooth surface of this whole scenario. Beneath this, there lies a bitter truth. How many of us have thought about government schools? They hardly have computer rooms or science laboratories. How can we expect these schools to provide a proper online platform where the students can be taught?
Most underprivileged students attend these schools. They can hardly afford a smartphone. On top of that, it’s impossible for them to think about activating a net pack on their phones.
Net packs also do not come in handy. Government schools merely open a WhatsApp group and share some study material on it in the name ofonline classes. They absolutely don’t bother to check the number of participants in the group and, hence, attendance is poor, unlike in private schools.
No follow up calls are made by them. But, they’re also not to be blamed because most students can’t afford a phone. Even if they do, regularity can’t be maintained.
Most have been hit hard by this pandemic because of poverty. In these times of distress, they cannot ask for money for a net pack when their top priority is to feed themselves. In order to feed the family, children are often seen helping their parents these days. The parents being mostly poor might not get the idea of online classes and, therefore, ask for a helping hand.
The whole situation of online classes is very chaotic in rural and poor areas. Network connectivity is also an issue.
We don’t know how long this ‘new normal’ is going to prevail, but children are seriously facing a lot of problems. The situation has gone so bad that some have come to the point of taking their own lives
Recently, a 15-year-old class 10 student in Chirang district of Western Assam had allegedly decided to take his own life because his father was unable to provide him with a smartphone. Many cases like these go unreported.
I strongly feel that this situation has been overlooked ever since the Coronavirus crisis started. It’s high time the concerned authorities take proper action before it’s too late.