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A Perspective Towards Online Education During Covid-19 Pandemic.

What is Emerging As A Change?

Change is the only constant thing in this world. Everything is undergoing change during these days of COVID-19 pandemic. Our education sector is also not untouched from the effects of ongoing lockdown. Changes can be apparently seen in today’s pedagogy as students and educators are shifting from classroom teaching to online teaching during these days of lockdown. Over 1 billion children and youth, roughly half of the world’s student population are at present away from schools/colleges and universities. Novel and innovative ways are being explored by the teachers as well as by the students to do learning through various devices and internet oriented educational applications that no one had expected before COVID-19. The rooms of the students have been converted into classrooms due to ongoing lockdown.

How are the Devices and Internet Services Being Used?

Most of us used to use internet mostly for playing games, listening and watching songs and videos, chatting, making videos on tik-tok etc. But now, flair of students has changed towards applications of internet in these days. Students are now spending long hours on the internet for studies or productive purposes rather than for recreation purposes. They are engaging on various online platforms to connect virtually with their classmates and teachers. Most of the online platforms that are currently being used for educational purposes are zoom, skype, google classroom, what’s app, email etc. Webinars have replaced seminars and students from each corner are actively participating in them. Various national level and state level online competitions for students are being organized by the colleges and universities to engage them in educational activities in these days of lockdown.

What are the Changes in the Perspective of the Students, Teachers and Parents?

COVID-19 has changed not only the perspective of students but also the perspective of parents and teachers towards technology. Earlier mobile phones were considered as a source of distraction for the students and they also got scolded by their parents and teachers for it. But now, it is very interesting to see that the teachers are calling on the mobiles of parents and suggesting to provide phones to their children so that they can join online classes. Nowadays, students have solid reason to keep mobile phones with them as now their classes have been shifted to their phones, laptops, iPads and tablets.

Earlier, when they were studying in classrooms, they used to write the important things in their notebooks to make notes for exams but now, they are taking screenshots of the slides that are presented by the teachers during online class and after that they write the words from these slides on their notebooks in leisure time. Now, the students are exploring new and new ways of learning during this pandemic time. So, COVID-19 has changed the perspective of every educational stakeholder whether he/she is a teacher, student or parent.

COVID-19 Has Taught Us

COVID: Connect Over the Virtually Established Infrastructure to Do Learning.

— Amit Sharma

How is My Maiden Experience?

Since March 2020, I have been attending virtual classes, webinars on zoom app and also participating in various competitions i.e. essay writing, power point presentation competitions etc. E-certificates have replaced the paper-certificates that took a lot of time to issue to the students. It was a great experience for me that I got the e-certificate of participating in an online quiz on the same evening of the competition day.

Since March 2020, I have been giving some power-point presentations with my classmates through ZOOM app. I also faced some technical glitches during these online classes and presentations. I noticed that some students of my class especially those who belong to villages, were struggling to attend these virtual classes every day. Some of them were facing some kind of network problems due to inadequate mobile towers in their villages and others did not have proper devices and gadgets to attend these classes. Thank God! Most of us did not have such kinds of problems but still, we were missing something that can never be replaced by these online classes that was the physical presence of our teachers.

Is the Change Permanent or Temporary?

No one can deny the fact that online teaching has substituted the classroom teaching to a great extent. Some students are enjoying and taking interest in this new emerging pedagogy while others are struggling, especially who are in rural areas and those who belong to poor middle class families. The fact that whether it will be a permanent part of our pedagogy in the coming days, depends on some questions: -

Q: - How long will this pandemic last?

Q : - Whether India will be able to create conducive IT infrastructure in post pandemic era?

Q: - What will be the results of cost-benefit analysis of the teaching methods i.e. classroom teaching and online teaching? Whether the online teaching is more effective than offline or classroom teaching?

Q: - How much the students, teachers and parents are satisfied with this new method of teaching and learning?

Q: - Will the Indian Government take appropriate steps to make educational devices and gadgets affordable for poor students?

Presently, It is very difficult to answer all these questions and implementation of all the above given things is a challenging task for the government as well in a most populous country like India. But the time is not so far when we will be getting higher degrees by studying on the mobiles and laptops. The time is coming when the government will have to open mobile universities and colleges. Basically, it is the level of satisfaction of educational stakeholders and effectiveness of remote learning that might be playing very significant role in determining the method of teaching to be adopted in post pandemic era.

How Does This Change Bring Inequality?

COVID-19 pandemic has forced the students to continue their learning over the internet and various technological devices, as there is no option other than that. But over 463 million children globally- at least one third of the world's students are unable to access remote learning since their schools have been shut down. Students, especially in developing and under-developed countries, are struggling more in the emerging system of online teaching. There may be several reasons behind their inaccessibility to online education and remote learning.

3 A's That are Responsible For Digital Divide Among Students: -

  • Affordability: - Poor students might be facing problem in purchasing appropriate educational gadgets and devices due to their high prices which are out of their financial capacity to spend. They cannot bear the huge expenses of installing various modern systems and appliances at their home to connect online with their classmates and teachers to do learning.
  • Availability: - Now, we are talking about the IT infrastructure that needs to be strengthened for making online education seamless. But, non-availability of proper infrastructure is not uncommon in developing and least-developed countries. Another question that may be striking your mind that is "whether these appropriate and advanced educational gadgets and devices are available in your local market and country to do remote learning"?
  • Accessibility: - Here, it means the capabilities of educators and students that are required to access these facilities in a proper way. The optimum utilisation of internet-oriented applications and devices is based on your proficiency in using these modern tools and techniques. It requires you to become tech-savvy. There is a need to provide proper training to the educators and students regarding the ways of proper utilisation of these technological devices. But, needless to say that these kind of trainings are not being provided due to lack of trainers and other constraints, especially in developing and under-developed countries.

The table given below shows the significant inequality across regions regarding inaccessibility to remote learning in numbers as well as in percentages.

https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/covid-19-least-third-worlds-schoolchildren-unable-access-remote-learning-during

REGION

STUDENTS UNABLE TO ACCESS REMOTE LEARNING (%)

STUDENTS UNABLE TO ACCESS REMOTE LEARNING (Number)

East and Southern Africa

49%

67 million

West and Central Africa

48%

54 million

East Asia and the Pacific

20%

80 million

Middle East and North Africa

40%

37 million

South Asia

38%

147 million

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

34%

25 million

Latin America and The Caribbean

9%

13 million

Global

31%

463 million

Wrapping It Up

As every Indian can see from the table that 147 million students are unable to access remote learning in South Asia which is showing the high level of disruption in online learning in that particular region as compared to other regions. One should know that India is the largest country of this region and one should have no doubt regarding its contribution in this data. The disruption in education sector occuring due to COVID-19 will have repercussions that could be felt in economies and societies for decades to come.

The pandemic has imposed several challenges but India has potential to convert these into opportunities. It needs to focus on the above given 3 A's which are responsible for creating hindrances in the process of remote learning. There is a need to think profoundly on each and every bottleneck in the way of bringing this new pedagogy and making it a permanent part of Indian educational system.

The Ministry of Education along with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India ought to take appropriate steps to strengthen the IT infrastructure especially in villages in remote areas. There is a need to ensure that each and every student of India wherever he or she is, has access to the appropriate mobile phones, laptops and adequate bandwidth to embrace this new online pedagogy into our educational system.

Failure Is Success, If We Learn From It.

— Malcolm Forbes

What Do You Think?

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Demographic Survey - 1

Demographic Survey - 2.

© 2020 Amit Sharma

Comments

Amit Sharma (author) on September 25, 2020:

Thanks Jyoti.

Jyoti on September 25, 2020:

Very nice

Amit Sharma (author) on September 20, 2020:

Thanks for the endorsement Kavya Jain.

Yeah, your Article is also informative and related to my Article.

Good work.

Kavya Jain on September 19, 2020:

Great article. Excellent elaboration. Digital divide is true and it needs to be addressed.

You may check my hub on Online Education, it may be relatable to you.

Amit Sharma (author) on September 17, 2020:

Thanks Nisha.

Nisha Joshi on September 17, 2020:

Very good understanding of todays online teaching methods in this covid 19 pandemic. Good job

Amit Sharma (author) on September 16, 2020:

Thanks a lot Mehak.

Mehak on September 16, 2020:

Truly a great hard-work

Amit Sharma (author) on August 28, 2020:

Thanks Abhishek

Abhishek Sangwan on August 28, 2020:

Good