Bengaluru: The concept of online teaching-learning for school children – has not found favour with eminent scientist K Kasturirangan, who says direct physical and mental connection is important to bring out aspects such as playfulness and creativity in them.
The National Education Policy, 2019, draft committee chairperson stressed the need for face-to-face contacts, interactions, exchange of ideas and thoughts as he backed the traditional mode, amid a debate on online classes for children due to COVID-19-induced closure of schools.
“Fundamentally, the physical and mental connection with children directly is extremely important. Playfulness, creativity and many other aspects can never be transferred through online learning”, Kasturirangan, who was Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation between 1994 and 2003, told PTI.
He said 86 per cent of the brain grows by the age of eight, adding that issues associated with the early phase of children need to be assessed and evaluated carefully and any kind of new approach needs a scientific basis.
“Development of a brain is a continuous process within these eight years, and if you dont stimulate the brain properly by continuous interactions, then obviously you are missing a chance of really getting the best out of youngsters in terms of brain boat and performance, the recipient of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan said.
“There are issues of these which need to be analysed very carefully. Just the kind of solutions that we talk of for higher education like online and so on may not be the way to deal when it comes to dealing with the early phase of children, the former Rajya Sabha member said.
The issue of online education for school children needs to be looked into very carefully and one should not jump into any kind of approach without any scientific basis.
“There is much to be evaluated, and it has to be assessed”, underlined Kasturirangan, who had also served as a Member of the now-defunct Planning Commission of India.
Another acclaimed scientist, Prof. C N R Rao, who was awarded ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 2014, also spoke out recently against introducing online classes for children, underscoring the importance of human interface for good communication and inspiring young minds.
The Honorary President of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, and the Linus Pauling Research Professor said online classes for young children such as KG, first and second grade should be terminated.
“I am not an enthusiast about on-line teaching. We need human interface with students for good communication. That is how young minds can be inspired, Prof. Rao, who was Chairman of the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister from 1985-1989, and from 2004-2014, told PTI.