KT Debate: Are virtual classrooms better than campus ones?
Some parents remain concerned about their children missing out on extra-curricular and physical activities and the impact on their mental health.
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Face-to-face learning or virtual one? This is a hotly debated topic among parents and educators. While the current situation demands the power to choose either of the two options, some stress the need to embrace the digital path as the new normal amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Some parents remain concerned about their children missing out on extra-curricular and physical activities and the impact on their mental health.
Virtual classroom is definitely the new learning experience for the future, especially for the secondary and tertiary sector. The alpha generation will be more comfortable with the virtual education world. It will be difficult for parents and teachers to accept, but it is their future and who are we to control it. We need to embrace it and change ourselves for it. Virtual classrooms are not going to substitute school education. The walls between the classrooms will disappear but the community learning space for social and emotional skills will stay and transform the school education.
Loluck Baby, Educationist
I think virtual learning is here to stay. The benefits of this system were well-established, but it’s only amid this pandemic that you could realise its true potential. This is not only a solution for anxious parents uncomfortable with the idea of sending their children to school but also for distance learning for grown-ups. Any adult can make use of online learning to study an additional course and increase their exposure to career opportunities in multiple fields. Also, institutes needn’t set a facility in a country but grow their business with online learning.
Ahmed Maher Al Seidy, Lawyer
Even though we had a tough time adjusting to the virtual system, we have settled down well with it now. With many online learning platforms – both free and premium – there are a host of courses from top educators across the world -- live on your fingertips. Virtual learning is the biggest boon of the new normal. In the future, there might be a world where school and college degrees will be replaced with online certificates of established learning apps. The online system has come to us by accident but now is the time to scale up.
Juhu Ubaiz,General manager
The school plays a vital role in facilitating the social behaviour of children. It is not only a place for meeting the academic needs of children but acts as a protective shield as many problems are resolved by the teachers then and there. Under the current situation, parents are stressed noticing the difficulties faced by children like lack of focus and attention deficit. Staying confined to home creates a lot of stress for children, with no outlet to express their emotions in a safe environment or through play.
Dr Tahir Saeed, Consultant clinical psychologist
I appreciate the current benefits of virtual classrooms but in the long run, I think this will not be effective for kids, especially kindergarten and primary sections. We are yet to know the results of the final exams. The crux of the matter is how can teachers ensure attention of the students. In a classroom environment, they can easily pick a napping student but in a virtual one, the teachers are unable to keep track of every child’s responses from a small window of their laptop screens. Once this pandemic is over, I support 100-per cent resumption of face-to-face classrooms.
Shajana Salim, Program analyst
Even if we concede that all courses are covered through virtual classrooms, what about extra-curricular and physical activities? There are many life skills children learn from traditional classrooms, which are missing in the virtual world. Moreover, over a period of time, children will lose real contact with their classmates and their relationship will no longer be a friendly one, which will affect their mental health. A full-time online learning will lead a child to become lazy, secluded and obese. Things will be a bit different for teenagers who in the past have been in a traditional classroom environment.
Shafeek Abdul Raheem, Managing director
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