- Posted by
Jul 14 2020
Over centuries, the world of education in India has witnessed a sea change from Gurukuls to eLearning. Online education has been there for a while but the emergence of the pandemic Coronavirus led to the immediate and imperative requirement of self-isolation. Overnight, schools, universities and other educational institutions were asked to close down, but the flow of education could not stop, and therefore, channelled to online platforms.
There was a sudden surge in the demand of communication tools e.g. Zoom for videoconferencing services, Dropbox for cloud storage, etc. This abruptness was accompanied by anxiety, curiosity, uncertainty and sometimes angst among both students and teachers, however, lack of alternatives made everybody surrender.
Though it took a little while but the initial dust settled down and the sun of education is again visible in the sky shining bright. Teachers are back to their role of imparting education and students are attending every new class with keenness. These online classes have become an instant success as they are in the comfort and safety, which is paramount, of our homes, are more interactive and participatory. One can see that students are asking questions more liberally as there is no fear of getting judged and teachers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that classes are lively and engaging.
Digital tools such as video chatting, live webinars, and group messaging are used to conduct classes or to handle query sessions. It is endearing to see students doing physical exercises or learning music in their individual drawing rooms, but in groups. The online education has facilitated the continuity of the routine of a student’s life, despite the on-going crisis.
All things considered, it would not be wise to oversight the grim reality of this new mode of education. The quality of the online education depends directly on the quality and the availability of digital access and as per a recent study, the internet penetration rate in India is around 50% in 2020, and a majority of Indians access their internet on their mobile phones (Source: statista.com), which might not be a very effective tool for online classes. This implies there is a big percentage of education receiving population which has no or poor access to the new platform.
Another key factor is that, owing to various technical and social reasons, not all teachers are either well equipped or comfortable in giving online lessons.
Since a student life is not all about receiving conceptual education, but involves the fun of face to face interactions, meeting friends, enjoying breaks and many more things, as per a study, students have already started feeling mentally drained out. They are stressed and irritated, which is taking a toll on their mental health.
Despite its pros and cons, the online education is the need of the hour and the only medium which has strived to continue the cycle of education in these difficult times. Success is low but encouraging. What matters the most is the future, since there seems no finite end to the on-going pandemic, online education is there for a while, but once things get normal, it would be interesting to see if there would still be many takers of this new platform or the charm of the classroom learning would continue to lure.