NEWS The novel coronavirus pandemic has created pressure on the education sector. Response to this pressure has reflected poor systemic capacity to adapt to unforeseen situations. In this situation online education has come to the rescue of the cause of education .
E-Learning during pandemic
Amidst pandemic situations, online education has come to the rescue of the cause of education. The Government, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) have issued several guidelines and plans to provide learning opportunities in the stressed times.
Benefits Of E-Learning
- Provides a wide range of programmes in cost effective prices, which gives the individuals to discover them at their comfort.
- The module by module learning makes learning more interesting and focused unlike conventional classrooms programmes
- Makes understanding of complex subjects easy, using animated format.
- Provides comfortable environment, flexible schedule and no hindrance to the profession being pursued parallelly.
- Enhances self-discipline and helps students to balance work and study time effectively.
- Apart from students it also provides a convenient schedule for teaching professionals.
Challenges of E-Learning
- According to National Sample Survey data for 2017-18, only 42 percent of urban and 15 percent of rural households had internet access. Thus online education may increase the inequality gap as digital education is available only to students with internet access.The worst affected, will be the marginalised, rural and poor populations.
- Lack of proper infrastructure e.g. stable electricity and low awareness on cybersecurity and other technical glitches.
- Lack of proper standard policy on digital education, infrastructure, content, interaction and multiple languages.
- An institutional environment is necessary to compliment online teaching as students themselves create an environment that supports their growth morally, socially and intellectually in conversations and interactions with each other. Hence, online education alone cannot remove the ills in the education system.
- Schooling is supposed to look after the emotional, social and behavioural health of children, but due to lack of proper teacher training these learnings are not inculcated through online mediums.
- According to Census 2011, 71 per cent of households with three or more members live in two rooms or less. In such a situation, disturbance in learning hours is obvious.
- Right to education should include and promote online education to provide basic infrastructure for online learning on priority basis.
- Assuring the required infrastructure for online learning such as smartphones, laptops, stable electricity, high internet speed.
- Need to increase budget financing for technical education in schools. Increase in the education budget to 6% of the GDP is one such step taken in the New National Education Policy-2020.
- Need to increase the internet accessibility in order to provide support for digitalization to teachers as well as students. One step in this direction is Bharat Network project which aims to connect all 2,50,000 panchayats and provide a minimum of 100 Mbps bandwidth at each Gram Panchayat so that online services can be accessed by everyone, especially those in rural India.
- Proper training to teachers and parents to provide basic knowledge about technology usage and threats related to cybersecurity.
In order to reap the fruits of online learning basic digital infrastructure, basic knowledge of cybersecurity among its users and deep collaboration between government, private sectors, NGO’s is a prerequisite.