Education is the foundation upon which we build our future – Christine Gregoire.
The petrifying novel coronavirus has shaken the world to its core and has destabilized the developmental process of the world economy as a whole.
Lockdown issued by nations across the world has hit the heart of a globalised world. Education is one among the scores of sectors that have been severely affected by the lockdown.
In India, the government, as a part of the nationwide lockdown, has closed all educational institutions, as a consequence of which, learners ranging from school-going children to postgraduate students, are affected; and there is no certainty when they will reopen.
Moreover, there is a risk that prolonged out-of-school learning may lead to alienation of children from school systems and exacerbation of existing inequalities.
The major challenge is to address the digital divide in terms of rural-urban and male-female. According to the National Sample Survey 2017- 18, only 23.8% of Indian had internet access. In rural households, only 14.9% had access and in urban households only 42% had access. On the gender basis, 16% of women had access to mobile internet, compared to 36% of men.
With a lack of education infrastructure and unprepared teachers, learning comes across as somewhat patchy and impersonal experience. The authentication of the educational material is at stake; digital safety challenges will remain at large while imparting education.
Moreover, e-learning is likely to witness a high drop-out rate due to the lack of atmosphere for studying.
Although the world is currently facing a crisis situation and already all the sectors are in jeopardy, we must also take some assertive steps to bring an educational revolution through a multi-pronged strategy and by promoting technology-driven digitial learning.
The government has come up with e-learning programme, the most widely known platform being “The Diksha Platform”.
Many ed-tech firms have tried to leverage the occassion by offering free online classes or attractive discounts on e-learning modules; some startups witnessing as high as 25% uptick in e-learning.
Advantages of Digital Learning:
It is more interesting, personalised and enjoyable. Each student gets in contact with a world-class education, which is not easy to impart by the traditional white chalk and blackboard method of teaching.
No physical and geographical barrier as individuals can learn from any corner of the world. Moreover, it is cost-effective, and students get to learn in the confines of their comfort zone. Massive open online course (MOOC) is said to open gateways for a lot of Indians in terms of bringing an educational revolution.
Students are the human captial and their potential needs to be harnessed in the best possible manner even in this crisis situation.
In my opinion, the one nation, one channel or one digital framework needs to be reconceptualized to ensure equity and quality in education.