From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not much
Mains level : Paper 2- Online education and issues with it
Pandemic has forced learning to the online mode. But there are several concerns with the online leaning. The article discusses the same.
Providing learning opportunity in pandemic
- The main thrust of providing learning opportunities while schools are shut is online teaching.
- There are several sets of guidelines and plans issues by the government, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for this purpose.
- The Internet space is teeming with learning schemes, teaching videos, sites and portals for learning opportunities.
3 issues with online learning
1) Increasing inequality
- Calamities, be they natural or man-made, affect the underprivileged the hardest, COVID-19 is no exception.
- The COVID-19 shutdown has affected opportunity for the poor even harder than their counterparts from well-to-do sections of society.
- The government began plans for students with no online access only by the end of August.
- But online or digital education is available is for students with only online access.
- Thus, digital India may become even more unequal and divided than it already is.
2) Pedagogical issues leading to bad quality education
- The quality of online teaching-learning leaves much to be desired.
- Listening to lectures on the mobile phone, copying from the board where the teacher is writing, frequent disconnections can hardly and organically connect the child’s present understanding with the logically organised bodies of human knowledge.
- The secondary students are in a better position still because of their relative independence in learning and possible self-discipline.
- The beginners in the lower primary can get nothing at all from this mode of teaching.
3) An unwarranted thrust on online education, post-COVID-19
- All reliable studies seem to indicate that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the classroom helps in already well-functioning systems, and either has no benefits or negative impact in poorly performing systems.
- That does not indicate much hope from IT in our education system.
- Transformation of schools in the current understanding of pedagogy, suitability of learning material and quality of learning provided through IT will further devastate the already inadequate system of school education in the country.
- Of course, IT can be used in a balanced manner where it can help; but it should not be seen as a silver bullet to remedy all ills in the education system.
Importance of institutional environment
- The institutional environment plays an important role online teaching.
- Even when the institutions function sub-optimally, students themselves create an environment that supports their growth morally, socially and intellectually in conversations and interactions with each other.
- The online mode of teaching completely forecloses this opportunity.
Our democracy and public education system should try to address the issues raised here while promoting the online mode of education.