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"Online classes can never replace physical lectures," Subhrojyoti Nath 

In the middle of a global pandemic, the entire world is putting all its energy in fighting an invisible enemy. The coronavirus outbreak has brought a large part of the world to a standstill. The number of COVID19 positive cases in India has passed 6000 claiming more than 200 lives. In Assam too, we have lost a 65-year-old gentleman, a resident of Hailakandi district in Barak Valley. Naturally, the whole valley is worried about the virus as health is above everything else. 

However, as the saying goes, “time and tide wait for none.” Tick Tock, albeit slow the days they are passing. There are students in the valley who are not able to attend their classes as they would have otherwise. The ones who have graduated from school are still in a vacation mode, while by now, they should have leapfrogged to the ocean, that is Class XI. The lockdown is on till April 14, 2020, but there is a huge possibility that it will get extended and there is no clue till when. In such a scenario what should students do? History has shown us that darker days have always been followed by finer hours. This too will pass and the race to find a seat at IITs or AIIMS will begin, so how should the students prepare staying indoors?

We knocked on the door of Subhrojyoti Nath, a renowned physics teacher in Barak Valley who has been teaching in Ramanuj Gupta Junior College and tutoring the best in this valley for more than 10 years. Ayan Talukdar, one of his former students who is currently pursuing B-Tech at National Institute Technology, Silchar turned the table and threw some questions at Nath… Here are the edited excerpts: 

According to you, should all teachers start moving towards digital education?

The situation demands us to do so! And not only for the teaching fraternity, if you see a lot of sectors like payments, shopping… they are all taking a digital route then why shouldn’t we do that 

 

You recently shot a video yourself for your students, do you think it is possible to explain critical problems through video messages?

I believe it can be done up to a great extent. Here I would like to add that it is a two-way process, one can only make something understandable for the other if the latter has- one, the proper urge to understand what the teacher is trying to explain. Two, he or she needs to have earlier concepts clear.  

As a teacher, what are the challenges you think one will face if they have to spend the next 3-6 months teaching online?

There are challenges and there will be more. As we are handling the current set of challenges, I am sure almighty will empower us with innovative ideas to tackle the hurdles. However, I would like to add here that if this has to continue for another three to six months (hypothetically) the situation will become very critical.

Do you think it will become practically impossible to cover the vast syllabus if you lose more months?

I am of the opinion that just like we have in the case of financial calendar, we can shift the academic calendar a bit too…

What would you advise the students preparing for competitive examinations? How can they use the time more effectively?

Those who are preparing for competitive examinations, I believe they have got a very good chance to clarify the doubts they have left behind. They should go back and brush up the syllabus. They simply need to go through the textbooks and other materials properly.

Students just out of school are still in vacation mode. Class X to Class XI is a massive leap that needs immense hard work, what would be your advice for them?

For them too, it is a very good opportunity to brush up the basic concepts…Apart from that, I think they must have an active involvement in household activities, it will boost up their energy level and prepare them to tackle critical situations in life. They should also dedicate a good amount of time to exercise, meditation etc. to keep themselves fit. These habits are going to play a very vital role in the future. They should use this time to develop good habits.

Lastly, if all students move to online education and get used to it, do you fear they will stop attending physical classes even after everything becomes normal?

Even though we get lots of news online or via television we still eagerly wait for the newspaper every morning in its print form. Similarly, I think online classes can never replace physical lectures completely.

 

Ayan Talukdar

 

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