Ajit JohnIt’s been more than a year since online lectures commenced for students in schools and colleges in the state. For senior students especially those in colleges it has been an experience that has left them with mixed emotions.Diksha Gawas, a first year student of a college based in Panjim said she desperately missed face to face interaction. She said students were now bored of online classes. Many she said were extremely bored and did not seem interested with what was going on during the lecture. Then she said the problem was made worse by the fact that connectivity was an issue in the state. She said staying in keri made this problem acute. She said she wanted to go back to class, meet her teacher and friends and experience life in the college as well as learn in the traditional manner. She said “I am a first year student and I have spent the entire year at home. It has been a disaster.”Jonas Menezes, a first year student of a college in Panjim said none of the students were happy studying online. He said “We are not benefitting much from these online classes. Due to the problems with connection it is difficult for some students to attend classes every day. When you are in the class physically you can ask questions easily. The course I am attending, mass communication involves things that have to be done in a practical manner. We follow what is done by the teacher, it gets a bit difficult online. You cannot get a proper response to your queries. I hope we go back to class soon.” Siya Gawas, a student at a college in Mapusa said she was fed up with classes conducted online. She said “I would like a lecture in college where I can connect with on a one to one basis. I live in Sattari village and connectivity problems are rampant. I managed to get a wifi connection but it is difficult for common students. I have seen students studying for the SSC exams moving around the place looking for connectivity. For us, it is difficult to stay focused on a mobile screen for a couple of hours. We don’t have the patience and the mood to study is just not there. I am desperate to go back to college.”Shimron Nathan, another first year student from a college based in Panjim said she despised online classes. She said “I don’t learn anything, I tried paying attention for four months in the beginning but it got so monotonous. I attend classes and I do pay attention but sometimes when I am preparing breakfast, I have to then seek the help of friends to help me get up to date”. She said she missed one on one interaction with teachers as well as with fellow students”.Omkar Naik, a second year student of a college in Panjim said he missed sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture. Such a feeling was absent online and discussing points with fellow students and teachers could not be done with the same spirit online. Sitting in the comfort of your home was a very big plus for students at the beginning of the online classes. Rishina Gupte said everyone enjoyed sitting in their bed and attending classes but that feeling went away quickly and everyone began to miss the traditional style of teaching. She said she also missed the fun time of sitting in the canteen and sharing jokes with friends.Aryan Bhobe raised several points like the outages the state suffered during the monsoons and the perennial network problems made it tough for students like him. He said “I wear glasses and it is already such a strain on my eyes. I think the government should go ahead and provide free vaccinations to all college students and then resume classes. Now, it is just a waste of time. Concentration levels have dropped dramatically.” Perhaps Shreeya Kudchadkar, a second year student from a college in Panjim said it best when she said everyone was excited in the beginning. She said “People would come online while in bed. There was excitement for a couple of months and then the spirit dropped, now I can say, no one is interested. There is no motivation. Offline takes time. We have to dress up and go and sit in a class. People are taking it for granted. The teachers are taking a lot of effort. For them this was also new and we appreciate it. We want the old traditional way. We look at each and every post released by the govt and picked up by the media regarding a possible reopening of college”. Too much time she said had been spent online and now people were quite sick of it.
These are tough times undoubtedly and the technology of the day was used. Perhaps in time the old way many come back with a modern twist. Time will tell. The students may have a point but their safety is equally important.