Covid-19 has caused one of the worst disruptions to have occurred in the entire world history of mankind. It has attacked not only human life but every aspect of it, such as economic, political, social, spiritual or psychological and mental well-being. It continues to affect human lives across the globe, creating a public health crisis. It has resulted in social disruption, social isolation, starvation and loan defaults.
Covid-19 has driven half of the world’s youth into mental illness causing depression and anxiety. It has impacted their jobs, education and mental well-being. It has bound us altogether with a different social norm like wearing masks and social distancing.
India has one of the largest educational systems in the world. Higher education sector was severely affected due to the pandemic and a million students and youth were kept out of their schools and colleges.
The lockdown announced by the government has brought all educational activities to a standstill. Schools and colleges were closed and examination were to be suspended for an unknown period of time. To tide over the crisis, educational institution, colleges and universities had to switch over online education.
Government of India took a number of initiatives to deal with the situation. Under ‘Digital India’ initiative, the government had already set up Swayam, an online life-long training platform developed with the help of Microsoft which holds over 1500 courses covering all subjects including Engineering, Humanities and Social Science. In addition, the ministry of education made several other arrangements, including opening of learning portals and channels to transmit educational contents.
The switch over from traditional to online learning comes up with new challenges and problems because of inadequate infrastructure at the institutional level, unprepared teachers, inaccessibility of students who stay in remote areas without proper connectivity.
It requires great strategy to build a higher education system that will able to face similar challenges in the future. The government has been encouraging online education to achieve academic continuity. To make online education more effective and efficient, various schemes and programs have been developed by Government for students, teachers and educational institutions.
EFFECTS ON STUDENTS
Covid-19 gave a drastic change to education system. The move was sudden, dramatic and rapid. Various educational institutions have resorted to social media platforms like Zoom, WhatsApp, Google meet, Skype, etc. to provide online classes to students. The online programme has several strengths and weaknesses too.
- Online learning has no physical boundaries, it is easily accessible from wherever you want, whether it is urban or rural or even remote areas. All we need is a device and internet connection.
- Students can watch live video lessons, answer quizzes and join discussion forums with classroom anywhere on the globe anytime. It also gives an advantage of asynchronized learning where students can study lessons through recorded lectures, messages on board and email. It provides a flexible learning.
- Another advantage would be that it is cost and time effective. There are no travel, hostel and campus expenses. Students can take their jobs while studying and can meet their study costs from their salary and manage time by studying through pre-recorded lectures and managing both time of study and work.
However, online learning for the Indian education system is far more difficult and comprises a lot of challenges.
- Students cannot have one-on-one interactions with faculty when studying online. The campus life that includes student club activities, library, interaction with other students, etc. are causing a wide gap in social interference.
- Lack of motivation is the major reason many students withdraw from the course and fail to complete the programme. Lack of feedback to students by the faculty as present in the traditional classroom. Access of two-way communication makes it difficult for student to get personalized feedback.
- Lastly, the schools & colleges, situated in small town and interior India are ill equipped with online programmes. They have limited infrastructure facility that reduce the value of the online programmes.
Nationwide lockdown following Covid-19 crisis has pushed all the schools & colleges in the country to switch over to newer technology based online learning programme.
Digital transformation is taking place in India at a rapid pace. Government of India with its focus towards digital India has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen online education in the country. Both students and teacher should have access to digital tools and the Internet.
There is no doubt that in future online learning will become an integral part of educational offerings, the networked system learning will bring about a radical change in the role of teacher and student. The chances that post pandemic period might see blended models of learning with face-to-face teaching and online resources.
Despite the devastating effect of Covid-19, India has demonstrated quick and appropriate actions to confront the issues pertaining to education and their programmes give the system a whole new management in the country.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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