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Arbitrary And Non-Democratic: Online Teaching In The Times Of COVID-19

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

Martin Luther King, speaking on education during his speech in the US, made it clear that education is meant to develop the capacity for a deeply critical study of humans. That is, education sets the journey of development by connecting deeply with the production going on in society.

Education Has Become A Tool To Generate Employment

But at present, the meaning of education is being used only as a tool to generate employment, market creation, and profit from more capital, which has led to the development of a mechanical relationship between educational institutions and students.

It is viewed entirely by the state party from a consumerist point of view where students are the means to produce their system at one time. The government wants them to emerge as big consumers later.

Representational Image. While universities earlier announced the postponement of classes, after 31 March, students have been made compulsory to take online classes.

This not only inhibits the development of students’ creation capacity but also limits their social evolutionary process and knowledge attainment to the individual level, which causes students to disconnect the knowledge creation process from active human labour.

One such example of mechanization seems to be the condition of an online class in the time of Covid-19. While universities earlier announced the postponement of classes, after 31 March, students have been made compulsory to take online classes.

Professors and teachers are providing video materials to students through online classes inside this “artificial space”. In the midst of all the claims being made about online education, the truth is that students are seeing this as a tool to waste the year.

While there are frequent claims of obstruction in students completing the course and year wasting and students wasting years, the whole process is more than just a few simple words like the internet, internet surface, professor, and students.

The Decision Will Strengthen Class Domination In University Space

This entire decision is not only arbitrary and one-sided, while this decision is equally non-democratic. About 69% of the population inside India lives in the village, with only 31% internet connection available. The same video call requires high-speed internet, which is limited in Indian villages.

That is, it is unfair to take this decision to provide only a few percent to the upper class and the middle class. This further strengthens class domination in the university space. Apart from this, it is also an attempt to simplify regional boundaries.

Representation Image. Education sets the journey of development by connecting deeply with the production going on in society.

If we look at the 8 states of North East India, this picture looks even more discriminating and inequitable. Where a large number of students from North East India study at Delhi University. The same is seen as a broad range of internet connections and broadband in these areas.

Only 35% of the population in this region uses the internet, while 60% of its population is resident only in Assam. other than this. For the Hindi speaking students and other speaking students at Delhi University, there has been a profound contradiction in the study of class material and study material in Hindi and other languages.

Many students are very uncomfortable to study with softcopy, but it is systematically imposed on all the students. In such a situation, it will be a big challenge for them to solve any kind of dilemma in online classes.

Shivangi shared her college experiences and said that “Students have to face a wide language problem. Where the class is mostly in English, and Hindi-speaking people constantly struggle with their problems, they are not given enough time to solve the problem. One of my colleagues has become a victim of depression due to problems.

Lokesh, a political science post-graduation student, states that Alam of linguistic discrimination.“It is that after coming to class, the professors directly ask who are the Miranda House, Hindus, Stephens and after that, the whole class becomes concentrated among the few students.”

Education Is Becoming A Non-Interesting And Cumbersome Experience

In a system where the broad distinction is clear, in such classes, the students will be further away from the process of learning.  The secondary status of women in Indian society clarifies gender discrimination. This difference is deeply influenced by the behaviour of the paternalistic system and the feudalist ideology. According to one data, the female to internet usage ratio in India is 35: 65.

The figure stands at 31:69, the most severe difference in rural areas. The student of Uttar Pradesh, stating her problem, said that there is only one room in our house and I cannot concentrate in class. Apart from this, it is a matter of shame for me that all the talk that is happening in my house on the video call comes from behind. In such a situation, it is difficult for me to do 5 hours of class. ”

Apart from this, due to the feudal structure of the family, it becomes mandatory for women to work at home. In this case, the online class poses a different level of challenge for rural or urban women. Althusser, in his article ‘The ideological instruments of the state’, has shown the university as a tool to spread the ideas of the state.

During such a healthy calamity, where the state is providing foreign capital investment through different video calling sites, a large number of students are completing their degrees and being consumed as “human capital”. The university is a state system, also performs the task of enforcing certain types of discipline.

This is more evident on normal days when the students, along with completing the attendance test, the semester is loaded with the responsibility of giving exams and submitting assignments and is tied to a special type of structural arrangement.

This process becomes so cumbersome and boring that students try to avoid furthering their academic studies. This is why the number of students falling from graduation to post-graduation falls by one-tenth (1/10). Sonia, a student of Hindu College, says that “the attendance of students in classes which have gone up during lockdown has come down to the tenth part.”

Even on normal days, the class is quite cumbersome in which the teachers are trying to do the syllabus in some way, and because of this, a long class is run. Students must cancel the exam and pass it.

Is This System Really In Favour Of The Students?

Apart from this, the university administration has done the task of keeping students so busy and separating them from the events happening in the country, to curb their creative ability and separate them from social problems.

Thus the state not only hides its boundaries but also acts to strengthen its ideas. In order to maintain the existence of the state, it is absolutely essential that the broadly exploited classes see their problems separately. So that everyone can understand their problem to their limits and always find a deficiency in their ability.

Even in our home families, this example is constantly pressurized us to come up with a particular structure and failing that. All the shortcomings will not work hard for us, and accusations of doodle are made. But this whole structure prevents us from questioning the systemic limitations, which itself is a failed live experiment.

Hence, economic political evaluation of such a process becomes necessary. Is this system really sensitive to students? Are online classes being run for students only? Does it further strengthen the class divide? We should try to find the implications of all the questions inside our life as well.

Online Class System Is Wedging The Divide Further

At the same time, we should also think that when we are studying in an elite institution like Delhi University, and when we talk about wasting the year, then it should also be known that in a state like Bihar, students are rarely able to complete graduation in 5  years.

It is so far from classes in this lockdown that they are not able to take classes systematically, even on normal days. This state has done so well with us that it gives some respect and facility to some institution, which creates a sense of false pride in us, and rarely can we even think of such an institution where the state never paid attention to reality.

In this way, the state creates capital in the name of institutions. And when we attach these institutions, a sense of superiority forms a gloomy space where our “great individualistic character” reproduces itself. Therefore, this online class system is not only giving rise to demographic discrimination but also deepens the differences at a class, regional, gender level.

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Image is for representation purposes only.
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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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