When India’s Covid-19 lockdown began on March 24, 2020, Burhanuddin Lakkadghat had just completed his senior kindergarten tests at his school in Vasai, a suburb north of Mumbai.
Under normal circumstances, he would have started Class 1 in June, after the summer holidays. But Burhanuddin’s school, which follows the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education or ICSE board, began digital classes right away.
These were not online classes held on video conferencing platforms. Instead, they were short videos of recorded classes that parents – almost always mothers – received on the class WhatsApp group from their children’s teachers. For homework, the teachers sent out worksheets that young students filled out with the help of their parents.
“His school did not start proper online classes till December, so for most of his Class 1 year, I struggled to make him study,” said Zainab Lakkadghat, 34, Burhanuddin’s mother. “He would keep saying he was not in school…