Surveys show huge learning gaps due to closure of schools and Institutions
Studies by the The World Bank point to huge deficits that have occurred in education and learning across all categories of students due to closures of schools and colleges.
85% of Students in higher education admitted that they have not even learnt half of what they should have. About 80% of the faculty members in Universities surveyed acknowledged that it may take anywhere up to 3 years to bridge the gap in learning. The story would be no different for younger students at schools, perhaps even worse.
The major reasons for the deep erosion in learning are not far to seek.
Schools unprepared and caught unawares
Schools, on closure, were caught unawares as they had never imagined nor were prepared for such an eventuality. They did not have any teaching platform suited for online learning. Being what they are, completely offline brick and mortar models, they faced an unprecedented challenge to somehow reach out to students in a closure situation. Their crude quick fix was to ‘broad cast the classroom broadcast’ on Zoom. What they called online classes were video shoots or zoom sessions of their regular broadcast classes. The engagement potential of such a model was very weak, with no teacher student interaction possible, as it was a broadcast, not lending itself to much interaction.
Many schools would not take a paid subscription time on Zoom, and, used the time restricted free 40 minute zoom slots. In the absence of a suitable learning platform for every subject they were left with no choice. One may not blame the schools for these shortcomings; as they had no credible alternate plans for such rarest of rare eventualities. Creating an on line teaching platform for each subject would need huge investments in technology platforms, dedicated IT and curriculum experts, product experts and a considerable lead time.
Digital Divide, lack of infrastructure and proper home environment
Many students did not have the required infrastructure, connectivity etc to even experience whatever limited was offered by their schools as online classes. They had to compete for computer time with siblings with similar needs, and their parents, who were working from home. Their home environment too was far from conducive. Each member of the family needed a computer, homes were quite unprepared too to handle this unprecedented situation.
Consequences - Unbridgeable erosions in learning
Resultantly, most school children have suffered huge erosions in learning, may be the equivalent of two years learning. Their learnings and preparedness stand hugely compromised, particularly in math. Math lags build up rapidly and a new makeshift learning eco system would not be best suited to a child for getting the help and attention as in a traditional classroom. Unfortunately, it may not be possible to plug these gaps with the pandemic situation bound to continue. The schools will neither admit this serious shortcoming nor be in a position to remedy this situation as the cause for it was the inability of the education system in the first place to deal with such a situation.
How Cuemath students stood completely insulated?
- Cuemath was already being taught online
Fortunately, when the pandemic struck, Cuemath had a well-developed, specially curated on line learning platform, already in use for its international students.
Many of our teachers were well trained in use of technology and were already teaching international students on this platform. For those teachers who were not teaching international students, we got them quickly trained and skilled; ready to handle classes on this digital platform. Over 95% of our teachers were equipped in terms of hardware and infrastructure, training and skilling to embrace the switch to online teaching within two weeks of school closures. We called every parent and invited them to join the online classes forthwith so that their child’s learning would not be interrupted. The response was overwhelming, as this disruption occurred on the eve of impending examinations, and parents were anxious about learning not being derailed for their children.
We protected the classes of students who could not migrate to the on line classes immediately, ensuring not a single class was lost by them due to expiry of their payment period. Some of them migrated to our online platform quite late but got the full benefit of the number of classes they had paid for.
- Cuemath’s specially curated on line platform is producing great learning outcomes.
The live platform which we call LEAP was built with the sole purpose of providing a rich one to one learning experience to make remote learning even more enriching than off line learning. The platform was built to harness the power of digital teaching eco system, with numerous visuals, aids, simulations etc. Its purpose was to offer cutting edge math teaching to students across continents. The teachers felt empowered with this easy to use teaching platform studded with aids and resources. The platform had a lot more learning features than our offline classes, with ease of operations and navigation both for the teacher and the students.
With our advanced technology enabled learning platform, we now have valuable data on student’s difficulties, time spent on topics, progress, online real time dashboards etc. The learning resources have much more depth and breadth than any offline workbook system could have. We have options of basic, medium and advanced levels for each topic in each grade. On line enables us to offer unimaginably more and richer content than would be possible in an offline model. The class size is also kept small with four to 6 students in a batch so that personalised attention does not suffer.
Thankfully, Cuemath’s existing online platform which was already a well entrenched part of our learning system helped us instantly migrate our offline learning centers to online centers. We are also happy that our surveys show that our online model is enjoyed alike by teachers and students and is yielding great and measurable outcomes. It will be our endeavour to provide cutting edge math learning systems and tools to our students with the help of highly skilled, trained and proficient teachers. In addition to training our teachers, we are helping them get Google certified by taking a course to sharpen their skills in use of technology and digital learning resources to harness the full potential of learning on a digital platform, so that our students getting nothing but the best.
At Cuemath, we continuously review and monitor their classes to check if the recommended best practices are followed and share feedback, so that, in course of time, they become great teachers. Anyone who wants to be a part of a movement, to change the way children learn Math across the world can become a Cuemath teacher.
Math, rightly, is the mother of all sciences. It is every child’s birthright to be skilled adequately in math. At Cuemath, we believe in promoting all these essential qualities among children in our personalized Live Online Math classes. Cuemath has the best-in-class resources and trained teachers for the right math education of every child. A right teacher is a great change agent in fulfilling the mission of Cuemath in helping every child master this life skill subject.
- By Ramesh Bharathi
Ramesh heads the training vertical of Cuemath. He has over 40 years experience in senior positions in leading industries such as Airlines, Investment Banking, Print media and Education. He is a Chartered Accountant and a Chartered Financial analyst and has also taught in ICFAI Business school, a leading Management Institution in India.