The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has forced businesses, schools, and various industries to suspend their operations and shut down. With the global lockdown, one of the sectors that have been affected the most during this pandemic is the educational system. The COVID-19 epidemic led to the closure of schools, colleges, universities, and all educational institutions across the world.
The government issued guidelines for online classes, and many schools, colleges in the country moved to platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Team to conduct virtual classes.
With the number of increasing cases daily, there is no certainty when the country will open, and when offline classes will be conducted. The experts are even considering the digital mode of education over the conventional methods of teaching. However, in a country like India, there is a vast digital divide. Only a handful of teachers are updated with the latest technologies and software. Not just teachers, some students don’t have that much access to technology.
The pandemic has disturbed the whole education system. Parents are worried about their child’s dependence on technology at such a young age. In contrast, the recent graduates are concerned about the decline in employment opportunities because of the pandemic.
In Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and rural areas, power supply and internet connectivity issues disrupt the online education. Digital learning is not a practical solution for a country like ours. Instead of concentrating on online classes, students become more addicted to online games and social media applications.
Work from Home has become a norm during these tough times. However, it is not easy for teachers to equip with these learning methods.
Similarly, students face problems concentrating on their studies and adapting to this impersonalized nature of learning. Educational authorities and departments must take specific steps to make e-learning as interactive as classroom learning.
Online learning should not just be about the sharing of notes and written material. It should have fun lectures and interactive sessions. The Kerala Government even launched a virtual school TV channel to make the virtual classes accessible to the students who don’t have Internet connectivity.
Therefore, the concerned authorities should take steps considering the pros and cons of the online education system. Otherwise, there are chances that there will be a rise in the dropout rate of students.
This is a very crucial time for the education sector. Exams and entrance tests were usually held during this period only. A few colleges are conducting online examinations. However, there is still uncertainty when offline exams will happen. There are no updates about the new sessions. Board examinations are on hold.
There will be delays in nursery admissions. Rural areas don’t have access to online education due to this lockdown. The future of millions of students is at stake. It is time to alleviate the digital divide and conduct free live classes. The young students are the future of the country, who are suffering the most because of this lockdown.
It is time to rethink and adopt effective educational practices to ensure the progress of these young minds.