Majority of parents of children studying in government schools neither consider online teaching extends any benefit nor do they can spare their phones for their children to use it for education purpose given the poor connectivity issues and insufficient exposure of their wards to such methods.
A survey conducted by the Telangana State United Teachers Federation (TS-UTF) in 489 mandals and 1,868 villages covering 39,659 students and 22,502 households revealed that both parents and teachers prefer offline teaching methods. The survey, in which 1,729 teachers participated, claimed that about 70% of children argued in favour of classroom teaching only.
Among the respondents, 48.9% families had a smartphone and 39.6% didn’t while the rest had two smartphones. Among them, 58.78% said they don’t have data facility despite owning phones — be it smartphones or normal ones. Even if they have data, it was not sufficient for online classes.
Interestingly, among those who had smartphones, 78% said they cannot spare it for their children as they go to work. About 90% of the respondents don’t have an internet connection at home.
Based on their survey results, TSUTF suggested to Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to consider opening of schools in rural areas where the impact of COVID-19 was not much to ensure that children were occupied with academic activities. TSUTF president K. Jangaiah and general secretary Chava Ravi said in a letter to the Chief Minister that Maharashtra has started schools in rural areas unaffected by COVID-19.
They said schools can function in two shifts to maintain social distancing, and priority should be given to classes 9 and 10. Online classes can be held in areas where COVID-19 is severe but the government has to ensure that tablets or smartphones are made available to the students.