Kathmandu, Mar. 19: Repeated closure of academic institutions in the wake of COVID-19 has upended the learning habit of school-age children. They have become lazy and want to skip reading altogether, share teachers at different schools across the country.
Schools started resuming in-person classes two months ago after the third wave of the pandemic swiftly subsided. The teachers said their students have returned to schools lazy, with little or no enthusiasm for learning. They blame the huge amount of free time they unexpectedly got during the pandemic.
Engineer Niraj K.C., a teacher at Prabhat Secondary School, Chitwan, said students are coming to schools without an intention to learn because deep down they harbour a feeling that they would be upgraded to higher classes automatically.
It will be very hard to bring the students to their pre-pandemic learning habit because teachers have no time to revise and teach courses in detail owing to time constraints, said K.C. However, physical classes seem more effective in technical stream than virtual ones, he added.
Rita Tiwari, headmistress of Padmakanya School, Dillibazar, said they are taking extra classes to complete the courses in time but students haven’t shown much interest in learning and that they are making a number of excuses like headache, stomachache in an attempt to escape reading.
Heramba Raj Kandel, headmaster of Vishwo Niketan School, Tripureshwor, said because of easy availability of a variety of gadgets, children have now become addicted to a host of distractions like video games, YouTube, TikTok, etc. He shared that they are experiencing the problem of memory loss, which has badly affected their learning achievement.
Tika Ram Puri, chairperson of Private and Boarding School Association of Nepal (PABSON), said learning achievement of students seems to have deteriorated compared with that two years ago and that it will take at least a year to bring them to normal level if the situation doesn’t aggravate.
Puri said though many private schools ran virtual classes even during the pandemic, physical classes are more effective as students are directly under the observation of teachers. Dr. Bidya Nath Koirala, an educationist, blamed that teachers seem focused on completing the course content targeting academic calendar but not dedicated to making conducive environment for children to learn, which he said is a wrong way of teaching.
Koirala further said that even after the pandemic, students are not getting a chance to learn with technology as most teachers themselves are not tech-savvy.