Hyderabad: Several school students who used to be proud of their toys, gaming consoles, cricket kits and so on, before the lockdown, are now proud owners of laptops, desktops, tablets and smartphones as well.
As learning went online due to the lockdown and is still continuing, electronic gadgets have taken precedence and parents were left with no option either to buy or arrange a laptop or mobile phone to continue their ward’s learning.
With online teaching replacing the in-person classes, students had to spend long hours with laptops or mobile screens followed by assignments and projects.
“There were Wi-Fi problems in the beginning but it has become smooth now. But I prefer regular classes over online because there are more activities and we can meet friends. Online classes are not fun at all. I also have had problems with my eyes after sitting in front of the laptop for long durations,” says Irene Mariam, a student of class 6, adding that she and her younger sister share a laptop.
Not just students, teachers who were used to in-person classes had to adapt to emerging ways of teaching. They were forced to quickly up-skill themselves technologically to stay relevant for online teaching.
However, the new method of teaching and learning process put pressures on the parents particularly for those with two or more school-going children as each needed a gadget of their own.
“Having one laptop was an issue sometimes, but luckily I and my sister have different class timings. It became an issue during exams but we managed with one person on the laptop and the other on a mobile phone. It was not easy though. I’m waiting for normal classes to begin,” says Isha Susan, a student of class 4.
While some parents could manage to buy a new laptop, desktop, or mobile spending money out of their savings, several other parents particularly from middle-class and lower-middle-class sections, had to either lend their mobile phones or repair old ones to ensure their ward’s learning in the lockdown.
“Initially, my son attended online classes on my mobile phone. As online classes and my office timings were clashing, I was left with no option to buy a new laptop. Moreover, it is difficult for parents, especially working parents to monitor children’s online activity during online classes,” says Srinivas Rao, a parent.
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