The coronavirus has impacted every single thing. The lockdown has been imposed in many countries due to the virus. It doesn’t allow for mass gatherings. Everything is closed amid the lockdown. It has made everything go online and virtual from health consultancy, court hearings, government meetings, sessions, education; everything has been made virtual.
Virtuality comes with positive and negative points. It’s not wrong to say that students are one of those who are most affected because of Covid-19.
In India, the academic year is from April to March. On 24 March, 2020, PM Modi announced a nationwide lockdown. All the exams got cancelled, including the 10th and 12th board exams. Some students couldn’t give their exams. Schools had to start the new session in April as well.
Some schools promoted their students in the previous session and started online classes for new sessions. Initially, schools used the Zoom app, a digital conference app. But in a few days, the government advised people to not use the app because of safety concerns.
Digital means less privacy. Most of the apps we use in our mobile phones consume our data, and we by ourselves allow them to use our data because that is the condition to use the apps. Most of the students use their parent’s mobile phones or laptops to attend online classes. And the system could have important documents, which can be hacked.
In our county, we have 4G internet connection, except in Jammu and Kashmir. But that 4G doesn’t work in many villages and many areas in urban cities. This means a huge no for students not able to attend classes even after having sufficient resources.
Wait, we haven’t even talked about those who don’t even have the resources. They don’t have smartphones, laptops, computers and an Internet connection. How are they attending online classes? Has any government ministry provided adequate resources to them? The answer is no.
That means online education is for privileged students from the upper class and upper-middle class. It has been months now when the nationwide lockdown was imposed and these students still haven’t got their hands on the facility of online education. Many college students are in their hometowns and their study material is in their hostels or college campus. They can’t study without enough books.
Although the Indian education system is designed to make students learn about the concept and write in the exam, an online, open-book examination (OBE) is the only option amid the lockdown. OBE requires good analytical skills. Students are facing problems with evaluating question papers.
Students and teachers are not really backed with technology. In this situation, teachers are also having issues in teaching through online platforms. Many teachers only know the traditional method of teaching that is from books.
Schools and colleges have students with physical disabilities too. And these students do need an instructor to use online devices while studying. For them, it would be impossible to attend online classes if nobody knows to use technical devices in their family.
There is one more question, what about the education of children of migrants? Will they be ever able to take classes? Many other things are missed in online education, such as sports activities, interaction, friendships, cultural programs, etc.
Online education is not possible in a country like India. Firstly, we have to work on resources. We have to provide resources to every student and after that, we should start thinking of online education. It’s not cool to compare with other countries when those countries have better resources.