End of academic year: Learning has taken a huge hit this year, say students

Under the shadow cast by the COVID-19 pandemic, an entire academic year 2020-21 has been spent by students away from classroom learning, outdoor sports and interaction with peer groups on school campuses. Despite the second wave currently crippling India's healthcare system and eliminating the possibility of offline education, there is still hope and effort to start the new academic year 2021-22 with sheer zeal and innovation.

On Friday, the office of the director of education (primary and secondary education), Pune, declared the commencement of summer break from May 1, 2021, which marks the end of the academic year 2020-21. Following this direction, all state government primary and secondary schools, private schools under state board and junior colleges in Maharashtra declared summer vacation for students and staff.

Students said their academic learning has taken a huge toll this year as online learning is significantly different from offline learning at school campuses. Vidya Doshi, a student said, "This year has just passed away. I have not learned much in terms of academics, because online education is totally different from offline learning. The scope for interaction, asking queries, personal attention and understanding concepts thoroughly is comparatively less in online education."

While Nadeem Zubedar, another student said, "There is more self-learning in online education, because teachers have limited scope and time to explain concepts. The touch and feel experience of classroom or offline learning is totally absent in online education. Also, my social and communication skills have not developed because I have not interacted with my classmates, friends and peers for over a year."

Also, this year, the Maharashtra School Education Department announced that all state-board students till Class 9 along with Class 11 will be promoted to the next level without examinations. Though the board examinations for students of Class 10 have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation, students are yet to be assessed and provided with results.

In addition, the new academic year 2021-22 for all state schools, private schools under state board and junior colleges is slated to begin from June 15, 2021, announced the education director's office on Friday.

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