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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: Every cloud of worry has a silver lining of hope. However, with educational institutions likely to remain shut for a prolonged period due to outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease, the future of lakhs of students seems to be at stake now.

Amid the lockdown, school management, teachers and students look worried about scheduled course completion, upcoming academic session and the exams. If the lockdown or the virus scare continue for a longer period, the burden on students as well as the teachers is very likely to double.

In view of this, certain private institutions in Smart City Bhubaneswar have started delivering online education.

Though such learning methods are not as comprehensive or subjective as in the smart classrooms, the students feel that something is better than nothing.

Also Read: Coronavirus Lockdown: Odisha Man Becomes Godsend For Needy

The brighter side of the story is students are availing the facility of online studies safe at their homes. Queries are being made by students through calls and messages in WhatsApp and teachers are prompt enough to clarify their doubts the same way.

“We have uploaded the online modules of various topics across subjects for different classes. We have also given mind marks followed by certain key points related to the topic and some video links with which the students can understand the topic,” informed Swati Sengupta, a teacher of Sai International School in Bhubaneswar.

“I have been using an educational app for over nine days, where we are able to get the notes and home assignments. If any doubts come up, once can we easily access the web links and see the video for clarification,” said a student of Sai International School.

The situation, however, isn't alike in schools in other districts. Parents of these private institutions which have not yet adopted such online methods or do not have adequate infra are anxious about the future of their children.

A guardian Rabi Narayan Das of Balasore said that the education infrastructure in Balasore cannot match up with the trends of online education.

Even as there is no certainty on when the dark era of COVID-19 pandemic will end and normalcy will restore, the initiatives undertaken by institutes have received a lot of appreciation by the guardians.

In contrast, government schools are far from such advanced initiatives. The impact of nationwide lockdown following the coronavirus outbreak has significantly affected the government schools here.

Though the schools are facilitated with desktops and computer labs for education purpose, no such promising initiatives could be seen so far to tackle the crisis.

The distorting fact is there are 53,000 government schools across the State, and the fate of each student now hangs in balance. Concerns were also raised on how has the government planned to cope up with the emergency situation.

Also Read: Coronavirus Lockdown: Odisha Man Becomes Godsend For Needy

“All students in government schools are not acquainted with advanced technical facilities. Also, all guardians cannot afford to facilitate the students with the required devices,” said Nilima Dey, a government school teacher.

“Government schools and their students can’t compete with private institutions. At a time when the government is failing to facilitate students with the required number of tables, chairs and teachers, online education seems a distant dream,” informed Pritish Acharya, a Professor.

Asked, State School and Mass Education Minister Sameer Dash denied responding over the matter.

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