Much of 11-year-old Rohit’s exam writing experience this year has been typing answers into the keypad of his uncle’s smartphone. While taking online internal exams, held by private schools, from home might be proving to be a test in itself for students across the city, EWS students and their parents have been putting together ways to appear in these at all.
Rohit is an EWS student studying in class V at Mayur Vihar’s Aster Public School. Like almost all EWS students in the city, he does not have a laptop in the family or a smartphone of his own. His father is the only one in his family who possesses a smartphone but he takes it with him to work. His uncle lent the family another smartphone when online classes began, to enable Rohit and his elder brother, who studies in class VIII in a government school, to study through the lockdown.
“During our unit tests, our teacher sent us question papers on our school’s portal. There were some papers in which we had to type out our answers so I used my uncle’s phone. There were some for which we had to write answers on paper, and I asked my mother to go to the school and submit these,” he said.
His mother Babita said the exam process was completely handled by her son, whose teacher had explained to him how to navigate the process, as she does not know how to use a smartphone. His parents also began sending him for tuition once the school began conducting tests.
“He studies in an English-medium school and neither of us can read English so we’ve never been able to help him with his studies. This year, he has been managing everything by himself but once the school began holding tests, we decided to send him to his tuition ma’am so that he gets the help he needs,” his mother said.
In other households, the situation has been more difficult. Arjun Singh said his son Mayank, a class IX EWS student at
Dilshad Garden’s Nutan Vidya Mandir, has not written his school tests at all as the family does not own a smartphone.
“There have been online classes in his school but he has not been attending them because I can’t afford a smartphone. Mayank has been studying books belonging to a neighbour’s child, who was in class IX last year, by himself at home. And as for the exam, he didn’t write them,” said Arjun, who works as a labourer doing whitewashing work.
Even in households with a smartphone, the process has involved a lot of juggling. While Tanisha is a class VII EWS student at St Lawrence School, her brother is a class XII student at a government school. Their father is the only person with a smartphone.
“There were 2.5 hours for Tanisha to write her answers and another 45 minutes to convert photos of the answers into PDFs and send them. Since it’s a long process, her brother missed some classes. Last week, the school had held a BYJU’s test but she couldn’t write it because I had to go for some work,” said her father, Rakesh Chauhan.
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