Online Teaching: Large Section Of Students Are Bound To Miss Out
With digital becoming the ‘go-to’ word for education, from kindergarten to university, the teacher-student relationship has become limited to technology only. COVID-19 has unmasked the new face of education.
In many ways, it has become an unprecedented test for the teacher-student relationship. No daily check-ins, no in-person interaction, no praise in front of classmates, no high-fives for a job well done. Everything is missing.
To bridge the gap, schools and colleges have deployed several strategies and tools to ensure online classes until the lockdown ends. But, only educational institutions, that already have the required infrastructure and where students have a fair understanding of how the system works, have been successful.
The shift in education from the traditional classroom to computer-based learning might be one of the largest educational experiments to date. However, it has been observed that things taught through online mode have a lot of challenges for the educator as well as the learner. For educational institutions that are not so used to the digital world, the new reality can be more difficult. Classes on zoom, Whatsapp, WebEx, google meet are becoming the norm for students and teachers. Yet, this abrupt transition to online classes hardly compensates for the absence of the classroom experience.
In the case of smaller children, parents have to remain glued to the laptop or mobile at the time of their online classes. While many parents are not comfortable with technology, others have their time issues. Many parents might have to miss their work for the online classes of their children. The increase in screen time for children is becoming another issue of concern. A poor internet connection in many areas is also creating a big obstacle for these virtual classes.
There is pressure on teachers too. Most teachers are acquainted with classroom teachings. Every teacher has a unique teaching style. Over a period, they would have built up a rapport with the children. A student’s body language and his interaction in the classroom matters a lot for the teacher. And all of a sudden just shifting to the computer screen causes a disconnect.
Meanwhile, millions from Government schools and colleges, especially in rural areas, will not even have access to education due to the lockdown. Weak internet penetration has turned our e-education into a distant dream for many children in rural areas.
As per official statistics, there are over 35 crore students in the country. But it is not clear how many of them have access to digital devices or the internet. In rural India, it has been observed that many households either may not have a smartphone or children do not have access to digital devices. In many cases, the mobile is owned by the male member of the house and he may not handover the phone to the child to learn.
The problem with digitisation that we are taking for granted, is that a certain group of children will definitely miss out.