Streamed education is diluted education
The COVID-19 lockdown has given impetus to online learning which is being seen as substitution of Classroom learning experience.
About UGC scheme:
Recently, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University Grants Commission had issued a circular to universities encouraging them to adopt massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered on its SWAYAM platform for credit transfers in the coming semesters.
Criticisms of e-learning platforms
- Neglecting physical infrastructure
- Instead of expanding the network of higher educational institutions across the country and increasing seats, the government plans to make online degree programmes available for students to enrol and graduate from and add to GER.
- Instrument to achieve GER target
- It is being seen as an instrument to achieve the country’s target Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education (envisioned to be 30% by 2021; it was 25.8% in 2017–18).
- Reinforce top down learning
- MOOC-based e-learning platforms tend to reinforce a top-down teacher-to-student directionality of learning whereby the teacher ‘creates’ and the student ‘consumes’ but teaching and learning are skills that are always in the making.
- Changing roles
- The teacher is “an intellectual midwife” who facilitates the birth of students’ ideas and insights through engaging in critical dialogue which is offered by a conducive classroom environment but not by MOOC-based platform.
- Policymakers behind the SWAYAM platform have left out courses in engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, agriculture, and physiotherapy on the grounds that they involve laboratory and practical work which is a welcome measure.
- However, suggesting that the pure sciences, the arts, the social sciences, and humanities curricula are largely lecture- and theory-based, and, therefore, readily adaptable to the online platform is a misconception.
- Lack of shared spaces
- Classroom and campus spaces offer the potential for solidarity in the face of discrimination, social anxiety, and stage fear, paving the way for a proliferation of voluntary associations that lie outside the realm of family, economy, and state. This is not offered by MOOCs platform where teaching and learning would give way to mere content and its consumption.
- Public education modelled on social distancing is a functional reduction and dilution of the meaning of education which could add value only as an addendum to the classroom.
- Therefore, such online platforms must be seen only as temporary arrangements that help us get by under lockdown situations and complement classroom lectures.
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