The Covid-19 pandemic has taken over the world. It has impacted the economy and education to a large extent. Schools and colleges are shut and students are shifting towards online education because of the pandemic.
Students who have access to the internet and are internet savvy can attend online lectures and interact with their teachers, submitting assignments online on time through video conferencing applications. The experience of learning has completely changed. But challenges have risen for many.
Online classes have become the new normal. But it leaves out many people, differently-abled students being one of them, as they lack access to smart devices and learning platforms. Most differently-abled people need scribes and readers, along with a strong internet connection.
Colleges and schools are adopting a virtual mode of communication. For the students who are hard of hearing, no sign language interpreter is available to help them understand the concepts being taught online. Differently-abled people are unable to cope with online education.
In a survey of 3,637 differently-abled students, parents and teachers in at least nine states for the Digital Education in India: Will Students with Disabilities Miss the Bus? report, around 77% of the students said that they would be unable to cope with online education as they lack access to smartphones. A lot of students do not know how to use technology properly. And those students who have access to smart devices, 87.4% face poor internet connectivity issues and are unable to attend classes regularly. Students with visual impairment said that they were not able to understand the concepts because many students were interacting with the teachers at once.
Online education has to be more accessible so that every student can get quality education.