A classroom is defined as a confined space where both children and adults get the opportunity of learning. Classrooms can be located from educational institutions like schools and universities to other places where training and education is provided. The importance of classrooms lies in the fact that students can learn without getting interrupted or any distractions. Separate classrooms are provided for separate classes and teachers are provided accordingly. This leads to an organized system without getting overlapped. Whereas learning is not restricted to a classroom. One can learn anywhere and at any point of time. Classroom is a means of learning in a systematic way with proper guidance. Classrooms are not all about bookish knowledge. A classroom is where the beautiful relationship of a teacher and a student gradually grows up. The interactions, group discussions, doing extra curricular activities leads to a social bonding that cannot be compared to any other relation. The students are equally benefited. They learn how to make friends, how to socialite, how to bond with others, how to work together as a team.
However, in the year 2020, the concept of a classroom is very different from how we had known it for the past years. The pandemic known as Covid-19 or corona virus has taken over the world and literally made our lives motionless. The pandemic originated from Wuhan, China and it was first identified in December 2019. It has gradually spread all over the world and interrupted our lifestyle to a great extent. The corona virus spreads from person to person during close contact through small droplets while coughing, sneezing or talking. Recent findings have suggested that the virus can also spread through air over a long distance. It causes severe acute respiratory syndrome infecting the lungs. It is very contagious and can be caught even from the people who do not show any symptoms. The symptoms include fatigue, cough, fever, shortness of breath and even loss of smell. It can also spread by touching a contaminated surface or an object and then touching their face. There are still no vaccines or any known treatment found to recover from this virus. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared this outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January, 2020 and a pandemic on 11th March. More than 16.9 million cases of corona virus have been reported all over the world and deaths of more than 666000 have been recorded so far. But looking at the bright side, more than 9.91 million have recovered from this disease. Since there are no known treatments found, certain preventive measures are recommended that can help us with this outbreak. The measures include wearing a face mask ( which can prevent the droplets from spreading while talking, coughing or sneezing) in public, using hand gloves (that prevents us from touching a contaminated surface directly), maintaining a certain distance from people (minimum of one metre recommended), washing our hands more frequently, using hand sanitizer and last but not the least “Stay home, Stay safe” is advised to everyone.
Covid-19 pandemic has affected every educational system worldwide. All the educational institutions- schools, universities, colleges are shut down to minimize the spread. Even the offices that can provide with work from home are shut down for a longer period of time. Due to a drastic fall in the economy, some offices were bound to open but the educational institutions remained closed. The students were detached from the studies, all the examinations of schools, semesters and admission tests were postponed for an uncertain period of time. Students who were taking the board exams suffered the most. The toddlers or the kid who joined school for the first time had to take a step back. The concerned authorities of schools and colleges decided to start online education to minimize the problems. All the classes, even after four months of lock down, are still being taken by different teachers over video calls, whats app, or through other online platforms. For a country like India, being the second most populous country after China, it has become difficult for everyone to attend online classes. India has a population of above 130 crores, out of which two-third of the population falls under poverty. Before the pandemic, literacy rate was already low. The students along with the parents were given several facilities in order to attend school. Several schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhjyan, National Programme for Education of Girls at Elementary Education (NPEGEL), Mid day meal scheme, Right To Education (RTE) Act, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, etc. Because of these schemes, the parents were motivated to send their children regardless of a boy or a girl. Now, because of the online classes children are less motivated to attend them. Moreover, having 68.8% of the population Below Poverty Line (BPL), it is not possible for everyone to afford being online. Most of them do not have smartphones.
The covid-19 pandemic has a huge impact on unemployment. It is said to be the largest global recession since the ‘Great Depression’. Many have become jobless and they cannot afford to provide education to their children. They are trying to get adjusted to this situation and start a new way of earning. The children get busy reluctantly trying to help their parents leaving their studies behind. The kids belonging to the age group of 3-10 yrs cannot attend online classes properly. Their parents have to attend the classes to take down homework or understand the ongoing class. The teachers are becoming the victims as well. Online classes are restraining them to have a proper interaction with the students. Not many students can attend the classes at once. The classes are often interrupted by poor network connection. Private teachers are basically jobless at this point of time since so salaries are being provided. Online classes have restricted the bonding of the students with each other. Since the lock down, the children are devoid of any outdoor activity. They have to sit in front of the computer all day, since everything is online. This is affecting the eye sights of the children. At this point returning to the classroom will be difficult, since many students are getting more and more comfortable at home and lethargic day by day, but it is important. The kids who are just starting schools need a place to play and study simultaneously. The environment that a classroom can provide is not available elsewhere.