Covid-19 has forced schools and colleges across India, and indeed the world, to suspend physical classrooms and move to online classrooms.
Although for most private universities in India this transition has been easy, the public ones are still adjusting.
There have also been discussions about the existence of courses, and the possibility of examination and valuation whether or not they should be done online.
While faculty are engaging with new ways to manage this sudden change to online education, students are trying to cling to their mobile phones and computer screens.
If the lockdowns had been going on for some time, how do higher education have been impacted? What are some deeper issues requiring self-reflection? And what does this mean to the students coming forward?
Going Digital was First Step
As soon as the Covid-19 crisis did break out in India, many universities announced that classes would be suspended until 31 March. Whereas others decided to wait to see what was going to happen next, they began to explore online classes.
Private institutions moved to online mode and remained largely unaffected by the nationwide lockdown on 24th March.
The IITs have moved to online courses, exchanging study materials and documents over the internet with students. Some Universities and Teachers have agreed that their change to online teaching has not been very difficult.
Moving to Digital
Digital training is carried out in two ways. The first is through recorded class, which is referred to as the Massive Open Online Course and opened to the public.
The second one is conducted as webinars, or zoom sessions, through live online classes. In addition to reliable IT infrastructure and faculty members who are confident in teaching online, universities need high-speed internet and instructional delivery mechanisms or learning management systems.
Students will also need to have high-speed internet connection and computers/mobiles to be present at or watch pre-recorded classes in these sessions.
National Law University of Delhi was among the first schools in the country to have an open MOOC and it offered the program to the public in March after the Covid-19 crisis broke out.
Students should make use of both study materials in law and digital tools as assigned to them by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and MHRD. The goal was to provide online and video courses in engineering, science, and management.
Although technology allows, it can also be restrictive, particularly in India, where basic access is a challenge. Not all students have a home computer or high-speed internet.
This contributes to problems related to attendance and online session participation. An IIT Kanpur survey showed that 9.3 percent of its 2,789 students were unable to access material sent online by the institute or study.
Just 34.1 percent of them had internet access that was strong enough to watch lectures in real-time. The survey conducted by LocalCircles among 25,000 respondents showed that only 57% of students had the equipment, router, and printer needed to attend online classes at home.
Not Just About Classes
Many feel that online education isn’t as simple as talking to the microphone at one end, connecting a computer or phone, and hearing at the other.
With this type of education, there are other problems facing both ends of the spectrum students and faculty as well.
Students worried about the lack of information going forward and what the action plan would involve, especially with regard to exams, evaluations, internships, and placements. While most higher education institutions are doing their best in this condition, nobody knows what might happen next.
Many educators across institutions agree on the need to invest in developing integrated online educational systems, not just using apps and Google hangouts; and to train students and teachers alike.
Only if we take into account the different opinions of experts and integrate all the lessons gained from the summer of 2020 will the way ahead be explored.
Online Education for Students
* Opportunity to learn online using various resources and techniques
* No learning disturbance due to the pandemic
* Listening to recorded and live discussions and operating at their own pace
* Absence of free conversations, arguments, and discussions
* Technological issues related to lagging devices or slow access to the internet
* Get used to learning and online evaluation
* Studying with family, and other distractions whilst living at home
Impact of COVID-19 on Education and Students
All those students who are apart from these result-dependent circumstances as above are also facing serious interruption to their education.
With regard to the Covid-19 concern, multiple schools have gone digital and parents seem to have played a teacher’s role. And are quickly becoming acquainted with the services provided by the home school that causes their children’s education to be minimally disruptive.
Also, when a huge number of quality resources are available to assist children to develop their skills in the 21st century and prepare for their jobs in the future there are not too many resources that imitate a school, provide for multidisciplinary learning, promote communication among various areas and inspiring insights.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the worst disaster mankind has ever faced. Maybe we all understood the most difficult situations in our lives.
Disruption of education affects our preparation for the future and therefore has massive economic and social impacts.
Make sure you take all steps to minimize this interruption so that when life returns to normal. You will be much more able to deal with the challenges that life and the world present to you.