I’m one of the million students who’re living in their homes and attending online classes. Who could’ve thought that our student lives would end so abruptly? As much as I miss my college life, I have accepted the current lifestyle given to me by this dreaded pandemic. It’s not like I have an option. With people losing their lives, jobs, savings, and their homes, the pandemic has shown how modern education is constantly vomiting on itself.
Before this pandemic, I had mixed emotions towards classes. On one side, we had to deal with professors and teachers whose entitlements know no bounds. They think the entire world revolves around them. But on the coin’s other side, we had teachers who were great and helpful. They would assist us when we deal with our problems. And they also explain complicated subject matters more thoroughly. But if I have to choose between traditional classes and online classes, I’d choose the former. Because despite my mixed opinions, I’d still be interested in drudging myself to learn something.
That’s where my major gripe comes in. The quality of education is just style over substance. We may have computers and smartphones to attend classes. Unfortunately, what we lack are proper online classes. The online classes are plain boring. At worst, it is just plain trivial. Based on my experiences, I find online classes to be a massive waste of time.
I would rather waste my time playing video games, drawing something, or writing articles than just glare at my monitor screen and listen to some unenthusiastic professor teaching something. Unlike traditional classes, I have no passion for listening to 6 straight hours of fruitless lectures on MS Teams. These classes have no long-term impact on my personality, intelligence, and skills. It’s not like I hate the subjects, but the current situation gives me no reason to do so.
I may be complaining, but I still have the privilege to use those technologies. Many children in rural India don’t even have smartphones, let alone access to the internet. The problem not only widens the gap between the privileged and underprivileged but it shows the cracks of the online education system in India.
Another gripe that I have is the online “proctored” examinations. Like traditional classes, traditional tests at least make us break some sweat to study. And you’d be scared if you try to cheat on the exams. I mean, it’s much easier for the examiners to catch us cheating. That is not the case with online examinations. Why even study at all when you can cheat without being busted. In my case, the online exams in name proctored, but in reality, they just wanted to finish the exams as soon as possible.
There are also cases of sexual harassment while the exams are going on. For example, a female student received disturbing texts from her proctor during the exam. The ordeal led to nationwide condemnation against the college management and the app where the exams took place. People also raised the question of privacy during the examination, as they have to verify their identity by showing their identification card to the proctor via webcam. It makes me question the whole purpose of online “tests.”
There were times where students had to face brash and rude behavior from their teachers or professors, all in the name of “maintaining decorum.” One professor from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, was suspended after making discriminatory remarks against the students from the Scheduled Caste community. Not to be unfair against teachers, they also became the victims of constant bullying by the students. One The Print article says that some students impersonate someone else and troll their teachers. That is just one example, but the bullying they receive often impacts their mental wellbeing. Not to mention they have to face less pay which makes their situation even worse.
Despite all these problems, colleges dare to ask the students for fees at a high price. This pandemic took lots of jobs and savings from the people. Are the colleges in private so naive to see how Covid-19 dismantled the lives of many people? Or are they just too greedy to suck off every penny from the people like vampires? This behavior not only represents the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism but it shows how private educational institutions have become more like a corporation. Their apathy is creating more division amongst the students. If this behavior goes on like this, sooner or later, they’ll have scandals worse than the Star Wars Battlefront 2 Loot-Box Scandal.
The worst thing about the whole thing is? The students and even the teachers will be the ones who will pay the price of this toxic education system. I think this system has taken a toll on everyone’s mental health except the echelons in the education institutions. Not only is this system is dehumanizing, but it’s just plain pointless. It’s like an abyss of toxic pressure that is destroying the very essence of education. It’s high time that this system needs to reform itself, or it can wreck the lives of students, teachers, and everyone.