Voices of Youth: On online learning, overcoming problems

Limits of online learning

I am a Singaporean who has lived and studied overseas for nearly my entire life. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, my school started online learning in February. After three months of it, I am convinced that online learning is not sustainable, in spite of its benefits.

For instance, during my online learning stint, I could choose to complete my work at any time between when it was assigned and the deadline. Because of this greater flexibility, I could get more sleep, focus more on certain subjects and less on others, and study whenever I felt like it.

In the beginning, I really enjoyed it. I savoured my freedom to do work at any time during the day and was happy that I could save time travelling to and from school.

A huge disadvantage of online learning is the lack of interaction and motivation from peers and teachers. When in school, it is easy to complain about schoolwork with friends. This relieves a lot of stress because I know my peers and I are in the same boat.

However, with online learning, I felt quite alone with my problems, and my inability to pour out my complaints to a friend made work seem repulsive. There is social media, but nothing beats face-to-face interaction when trying to express your feelings.

Perhaps online and classroom learning could be combined, with students going to school for three days and having online learning for two days every week.

Tan Xin Yi, 18

Waiting to enter university

Improvise, adapt and overcome

Covid-19 has taken a lot from us - our freedom to meet our friends and family, take a stroll in the park or go to purchase that bubble tea we crave.

This is a period of hardship for all, but some communities are hit harder than others. One of these groups is children with special needs and learning disabilities.

Quarantine has meant the loss of a support network for not only these children, but also many of their parents. Online schooling is difficult for them because these children usually rely on a set routine. Despite the circumstances, however, these children are adapting.

We must continue to recognise the gravity of the outbreak and improvise, adapt and overcome. Only when we accept the reality of the situation and comply with the rules will we be able to overcome this problem.

Shreya Khandelwal, 16

JC 1 student

Crisis has brought out the best in many

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong recently announced that Singaporeans have to get used to a "new normal" (People will have to get used to new normal, says PM Lee, May 21). In the whirlwind that was the past two months, we have found some kind of "normal", one that truly brings out the best in many.

Strength and resilience have become a new normal. Teachers have gone above and beyond their call as educators to provide emotional support to their students, despite these arrangements being stressful for them as well.

They deal with last-minute changes, new schedules and technical difficulties on platforms that they adopted basically overnight, all while caring for their own children at home.

Appreciation is due, not only for teachers, but also for people working in essential and non-essential services alike.

Rachel Tan Jin Hui, 17

JC2 student