EM Exclusive, Nagaland
Home schooling exposes digital divide in Nagaland
Kohima, April 29 (EMN): Some schools and colleges in the state have initiated alternative arrangements to ensure that learning is not compromised during the nationwide lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, but there are also others without such facilities.
While experts claim that home schooling will widen the gap in performance between low and high achievers, between students from disadvantaged backgrounds and their more affluent peers, it (home schooling) has received mixed responses from parents and students.
Some educational institutions conduct classes online and interact with the students and parents, while some providing notes, assignments and project works to their students through social media.
Out of the many, Tetso College in Dimapur has been conducting online classes and interactions with its students; and St. Mary’s Cathedral Higher Secondary School (SMCHSS) in Kohima has developed its own app and has been providing notes and assignments to students. However, many institutions are unable to make such arrangements, which have become a matter of worry for parents.
The All Nagaland Private School’s Association (ANPSA) Mon unit in its letter dated April 27, informed that it had decided to reach out to the students from nursery to class 7 through WhatsApp with the supervision of the parents. Students from class 8 till 10 were reached out with hardcopy notes and WhatsApp for information and assignments while class 11 and 12 through online, hardcopy notes and WhatsApp.
The letter also mentioned that the school office would function with effect from April 28 (Monday to Friday) between 10 am till 12 noon for parents to collect the hardcopy notes and other necessary educational materials.
A teacher from Mon town, Alih Konyak, confirmed to Eastern Mirror that the new teaching method is functional in the school she teaches in and added that assignments in the form of essay writing, articles and others would be submitted on re-opening of schools.
Kulungolu, a student of SMCHSS, said, “My school teachers are giving us notes through school app and I am learning at home with the help of my family.” She added that it is more convenient to learn from home.
“I always dreamt of being homeschooled and lockdown has given me the opportunity to experience it, yet I miss my friends and it is a different story,” said Akho, a college student.
A working mother informed that the school her children study gives assignments and projects to students through WhatsApp and submission is also done through the same medium. “It is a good mental exercise for children,” she said while adding that it demands more attention from parents.
Sekho told this newspaper that at first, she was not aware that the school her son goes to, was providing notes but her son is catching up. She said that Hindi is a new subject for her son and that it was hard to deal with the new subject at primary level.
A teacher from Phek informed that till date, no arrangement has been made in his school as strict rules have been imposed by the local authorities. He expressed hope that the government would formulate a policy that would enable learning in all parts of the state.
Another teacher in Kohima expressed his apprehension over the arrangement made by the department of School Education for high school level classes to be conducted through Doordarshan and All India Radio, stating that many will not have adequate facilities in rural areas or even regular power supply.
Yanbe, a mother of three children in Kohima, informed that she is not aware if the school that her children go to is making any arrangement for home learning. She added that they don’t use smartphone to access information even if the school providing such facility.
While another mother, Jenny, said that they got study materials and notes through WhatsApp but said she is ‘not qualified enough to teach her children at home.’ She informed that a stopgap arrangement has been made by requesting a college student in her neighbourhood to teach her children so that their education is not compromised.
Senti, on the other hand, shared her concern about the transmission of the novel coronavirus, stating that it is alright even if her children miss a year of education if they are not infected by the virus.
“Life is more important than to miss a year of education as children are highly prone to be infected because of their low immune system,” she said.