Students struggle with online classes as there are no teachers to clear doubts

Students struggle with online classes as there are no teachers to clear doubts
Students attending online classes with the help of a smartphone in Kollam. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: Students have not been able to benefit from online lessons for higher secondary classes as there are no teachers to clear their doubts.

The government has tasked teachers of the respective schools with resolving the doubts and evaluating the learning activities of their students after online classes. However, many government and aided schools do not currently have teachers for many subjects. The crisis has been exacerbated by the failure to hire temporary teachers this year as the schools have not reopened.

Temporary teachers who had been working continuously for long in various schools are also in dire straits as their income has stopped.

Higher secondary students are given centralised online classes through the Kite Victers channel. Four modules that are each 30 minutes long are taught from 8 am to 10 am daily. However, since the classes that are broadcast are recorded earlier, students cannot have their doubts addressed immediately. Students of schools without teachers cannot have the doubts clarified even after the online classes.

The shortage of teachers is acute in many schools that were sanctioned by the government during 2014-2016. This is due to the inability to create new posts because of the constraint placed by the government on schools to maintain a specified teacher-student ratio. The higher secondary schools sanctioned during these two years were in places that did not have one.

Students struggle with online classes as there are no teachers to clear doubts
Students of the Life Valley International School in Kottayam attending an examination online.

Only schools that had at least 40 students enrolled in 2014-15 and at least 50 students enrolled in 2015-16 were allowed by the government to appoint permanent teachers.

Most schools that could not maintain the ratio conducted classes with temporary teachers. But with recruitment stopped, there are currently no teachers in many subjects. There are 48 government, aided schools that have not been able to recruit teachers, leaving as many as 2,000 students in the lurch.

In many aided schools, there are teachers who have been working for years expecting a permanent appointment. Many of them are still helping students, but they are demotivated as they are having to work without even a daily wage.

Ratio unfair: Teachers

Students struggle with online classes as there are no teachers to clear doubts

Teachers say that the provision that a teacher can be appointed only if there are 50 students cannot be justified when the Kerala Education Rules (KER) stipulate a teacher-pupil ratio of 1:25. They also say that this ratio is not practical in higher secondary classes.

Most teachers say that with an increase in the number of students in a class, they are unable to pay close attention to the students or evaluate their activities. Many schools have up to 65 students in a class. The increasing number of students, including for practical classes in science subjects, is creating a crisis, the teachers say.

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