As students went back to their classes recently, most adopting blended education, there have been mixed reactions among parents and teachers. A majority have welcomed the move.
Balquees al Hasaani, president of Knowledge Oman and an educator, said remote learning will help children, and their level of responsibility will increase.
“In time there will be new ways and styles that will evolve. It will also add value and skills to our students,” Balquees said.
“Remote learning is good but the emotional interaction between teachers and students somehow will get faded. There will be no instant responses. But right now blended learning is the only option to deal with the new normal. The pandemic hasglued us to digital screens which we previously always discouraged, but now we have to live with that.”
Khalfan al Mahrizi said, “I appreciate the Supreme Committee’s efforts in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to get students back to school safely. As a parent of a six year old daughter, I prefer my kid to attend school physically, and that is because, at this age, kids need to have physical interaction with their educators and their classmates. Kids need to socialise as it helps them develop their communication skills, teamwork, and confidence.”
Indian schools are currently conducting online classes.
Many have accepted it as a precautionary measure while others see the need to adapt with the changing times.
Neha Sujanani, a parent said, “Children will adapt to this and in the coming years, physically attending a class will not really matter. However, one concern is that children will miss the realtime discussions and playtime which they would have in school.”
She also feels that as school facilities are not used, they should consider offering discounts on fees.
Prakash Joshi, another parent whose children study in Indian School Muscat, said he feels online education is one of the most innovative and interactive ways of learning. “I strongly recommend it in this pandemic time. It’s a convenient way to pursue children’s education.” He said it will take some time for students to adjust from traditional classroom learning to online classes.
“Every education system has its own pros and cons. We need to assess our requirements against existing options.”
D N Rao, principal of Indian School Wadi Kabir, too welcomed the move.
He said, “Considering the present situation in Oman and across the globe, online education is the only option available to learners and educators. The approach offers flexible timings and there is a chance to review the classes as and when required. The classes are enjoyable.”
Blended learning will open up a plethora of opportunities for teachers and schools to engage students meaningfully, said Dr Baby Sam Saamuel, chairman, Board of Directors, Indian Schools in Oman.
He said, “Some amount of digitisation will make a lot of processes easier for both students and teachers, while in-person lessons will offer the social skills and support system that children at their age require. Therefore, regardless of the end of COVID-19, blended learning is likely to be the norm for schools in coming years.”
He said when COVID-19 struck Oman and schools were closed, Indian schools were quick to make an almost seamless transition to remote schooling through various virtual platforms. “Similarly, we are confident of implementing an efficient and well-balanced blended learning model to ensure enhanced, multi-dimensional learning for our students. It will also inspire a radical, positive transformation of teaching, assessment and peer learning, as the conventional methods may seem inefficient or outdated. Given the mass adoption of digital and virtual platforms, all stakeholders may now be better aware of the possibilities and benefits offered by these media,” he added.