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Students deprived of practical classes

Published : 29 Jul 2021 09:48 PM | Updated : 30 Jul 2021 01:18 AM

Although educational institutions in the country have been closed for the dreaded Covid-19 outbreak, remote learning is ongoing. However, students are deprived of practical classes for various complications despite they are provided with theoretical classes.

These students, mostly from science backgrounds, are being evaluated on the basis of their classes and assignment tasks only. As there is no arrangement for physical appearance due to contagion risk, which is highly required along with apparatus and kits to conduct practical class, it is left aside.

Experts say, practical work in fact facilitates learning in the classroom and help structure a lesson and improve engagement and knowledge retention. But, as the students lack the opportunity to take part in these activities, it will affect them in the next stages of their academic life, experts fear.

Moreover, marks distribution for a special group subject includes 10 to 25 percent from practical activities at secondary to higher secondary levels. This is reduced and merged with the assignment tasks.

Sanjida Akter Tanha, a HSC candidate of 2021 from Birshrestha Noor Mohammad Public Schhol and College (BNMPSC), had her last practical classes as a first year student, in the presence of her classmates and teachers in March, last year.

She told Bangladesh Post, “Online classes for different subjects including the science ones started later. But, a number of practical experiments has been left unconducted. Still, we are heading to take part in the HSC examination for three subjects.”

A SSC candidate of 2021 from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Academy, Agargaon told Bangladesh Post on the condition of anonymity, “We have hardly had any practical classes from the start of the pandemic. The teachers told us that they would conduct experiments for us, but later we only had to write down those experiments on practical sheets, mostly following guide books.”

This is the scenario of most of the schools and college in our country. However, universities in the country have made different arrangements according to their course plans. Yet, most of those await the institutions to open and conduct their practical experiments along with theoretical examinations.

Meanwhile, it is learnt that a few schools and colleges are conducting practical classes online. But that don’t benefit the students much as they lack the apparatus, kits and measurements as much as they are vivid in labs. 

Teachers of the institutions say, they are making an effort to provide the students with practical lessons along with theory classes amid the pandemic. 

While talking to Bangladesh Post, Md Nurul Islam, Associate Professor of Biology at BNMPSC, said, “We, the teachers, conduct experiments and record with a video camera. Later, we upload it for students so that they can get an idea.”

But these online experiments hardly are catching the interest of the learners. 

Experts and educationists say, a large number of students who fall victims to this pandemic have been promoted automatically on the basis of their performance in the previous classes. But, they lack the in depth knowledge of the current academic life. This will make them suffer in the long run.

S M Mizanur Rahman, Professor of the department of Chemistry at Dhaka University, told Bangladesh Post, “These students who don’t get acquainted properly with the lab experiments at the secondary or higher secondary levels will suffer once they set foot in the university labs.”

He calls the officials concerned for coming up with a way out for the pandemic hit students.

Meanwhile, the concerned officials say the revised curriculum and assignment tasks are designed in a way that it will cover most of the academic syllabus for the students.

When asked Prof Md Shahedul Khabir Chowdhury, Director (College and Administration) of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, told Bangladesh Post, “We have designed the layout of the curriculum in a way that will cover the revised syllabus and students are evaluated accordingly.”

“Assignment tasks are there to provide the students with a variety of activities and knowledge, which may be an alternative to what they learn from lab experiments. This is the best we can do amid the crisis we all are facing.”, he added.