Online Education Amid Covid-19

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    The ongoing second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the countries in all possible ways and especially the education sector, confining students at home leaving long term impacts on them and their parents.

    Impact of Covid-19 on Education

    • A sizable number of children will be deprived of formal education and will remain outside the ambit of education.
    • Students lack laptops, tablets or personal mobiles along with the poor or no net connectivity, concerns of distraction on the phones.
    • Due to the lack of physical classroom teaching, a feeling of isolation is developing in the minds of students.
    • The trauma of the second wave will put a deep imprint on the student’s mind, leading to an irreconcilable contradiction and ordinary family members will not be in a position to address the issue.
    • Educational institutes and teachers also face technical constraints and a majority of them are not able to use them with ease.
    • Parents face difficulty in adjusting to the whole online system, amid the added household responsibilities.
    • A lot of subjects need practical and physical teaching including beauty culture, fashion design and tailoring, office management, travel and tourism, web design etc., so it is difficult to teach them online.

     

    (Image Courtesy: IESALC)

    About Online Education

    • Online education comprises digital tools and technologies, used innovatively, during teaching and learning. It is also referred to as Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) or e-Learning.
    • It was envisioned as an alternative means of spreading modern education, however, it has its own shortcomings.
      • Modern education focuses on imparting education in a way that develops the thinking faculty in the student’s mind and guides logical reasoning based on a scientific outlook.
    • Challenges
      • e-learning poses a challenge to teachers, students and their parents over technology and access, hence the effectiveness of the instructors can not be analysed.
      • The availability and affordability of this system pose a barrier.
      • Longer exposure to the internet may create impediments to the development of the thinking process in the younger generation.
      • Learning outcomes of online education are not so much compared to actual education. Students use Google for every problem which hampers the development of their scientific outlook, defeating the purpose of modern education.
      • Physical interaction and activities have been entirely absent, and that may also be contributing to new problems. 
      • Dropouts are a big problem and also not every student is joining the virtual classes.
      • The current vaccination drive does not cover those below 18 years of age so school students will have to pass possibly one more year without the actual schools.

    Suggestions

    • Quality Online Education
      • The focus should be on imparting quality education to young minds and the whole teaching community should be prepared to face the challenges, mechanically as well as emotionally.
      • It should visualise and set a goal to develop the logical framework and reasoning capability in the young minds in stages.
    • Physical Schooling
      • The centre of attraction should remain the physical school for students and school education. For that, the whole infrastructure should be fully utilised, and if necessary, many more facilities should be invested in or created to impart education.
      • Classroom teaching gives the opportunity to impart many more things apart from information, for example, the mode of articulation, the method of initiation of new concepts, body language, etc.
    • New Content Generation
      • New content generation for each subject is needed to overcome the absence of classroom teaching within the framework of the existing syllabus.
      • This content could be of a new type, self-explanatory and has to be attractive considering the lowest IQ of the class and should produce the same effect on the minds of the students that the best book imparts on the thinking faculty.
      • The vast resources in terms of school teachers and would-be teachers in India should appreciate and join the campaign to save school education in the present situation and invest their young, energetic minds in developing this new content.
      • The education board and the government will have to channelise the work to advance the cause of education.
      • Once the content is ready, the teachers and non-teaching staff should visit the locality of the students to supervise and take notes on the problems faced by students in understanding the content.
    • Evaluation System
      • The evaluation should be based on the capacity of analysis, and the questions should be framed in such a way that students need to apply their minds to answer the questions on each subject.
      • Such questions will play a big role in advancing the logical reasoning process in the student’s mind.
    • Vaccine Coverage
      • The government should take the responsibility to vaccinate the whole teaching community as fast as possible to advance the learning process.

    Initiatives to Boost Education Sector

    • PM e-VIDYA: Launched to enable multi-mode access to education.
    • DIKSHA Platform: ‘One nation-one digital platform’ for providing quality e-content in school education.
    • One class-One Channel: Dedicated TV channel per grade for each of the classes 1 to 12.
    • E-PG Pathshala: An initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to provide e-content for studies.
    • NEAT: Aims to use Artificial Intelligence to make learning more personalised and customised as per the requirements of the learner
    • SWAYAM: Integrated platform for online courses for school and higher education.
    • IITPAL: For the preparation of IITJEE/NEET.
    • PRAGYATA: Under it, only 30 minutes of screen time per day for interacting with parents is recommended for kindergarten, nursery and pre-school.
    • Digitally Accessible Information System: Study material for the differently-abled persons with sign language.
    • Manodarpan Initiative: Provides support related to mental health and emotional wellbeing through a website, a toll-free helpline and chat.
    • New National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework: It is rooted in the Indian ethos and integrated with global skill requirements.
    • National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission: Ensures that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3 by 2020.
    • Other Initiatives: National Project on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), National Knowledge Network, (NKN) and National Academic Depository (NAD), etc.

    Source: IE