Saturday, July 13, 2024
HomeOpinionsHow is Covid 19 shaping the education sector?

How is Covid 19 shaping the education sector?

Also Read

Jai prakash Ojha
Jai prakash Ojha
The author works with IGNOU as Assistant Registrar. He frequently blogs/writes articles on social and political subjects. A post graduate in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, he also holds a post graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication. He may contacted on [email protected]. Read his articles on ojhajp.blogspot,com

Education has evolved in wonderful ways at different stages since its onset. From gurukuls, it has moved to madrasas and maqdabs and from there, it moved to the precincts of schools, colleges and universities resulting in class room teaching. Despite the spread of education far and wide in different nations including India after independence, mass education remained a distant dream. However, the spread of distance education since the mid eighties and the setting up of IGNOU transformed the entire sphere of higher education in the country. IGNOU democratized education in an unprecedented way and removed all the barriers to education be they be social, geographical, economic and cultural. From correspondence and printed, it is now going digital; no wonder today it has around 40 lakh learners giving it the distinction of being the largest university in the world. With its twin policy pillars of admission-at-demand and admission-at-doorstep, it ensured that the contours of mass education became visible.

Today the global society stands at the cusp of a major lasting shift in education and the signals have already started coming out. The catastrophic impact of Covid 19 will always remain etched in human memory as a painful chapter but simultaneously, it has changed the ways of society in interesting ways. There is nothing new or innovative about online digital education, the society would have been certainly accomodative to that but the time span would have been longer. Corona has simply hastened the process. Videos, live sessions, online materials etc. that were previously extra, tagged to the notes and physical classroom & teacher lecture which was the main body. But now, the physical element is out and the online digital content is in. 

Now, let me analyse how the field of education is going to be revolutionized in this coming decade. 1. Learning at any time and at any place. 2. Personalised learning at one’s pace and speed. 3. Flexible paths and more choice of subjects. 4. Blended learning & flipped learning and BYOD (bring your own device) for learning. 5. Project based and experimental learning. 6. Increasing importance of data interpretation and data analysis. 7. Change in examination pattern with increased use of online quizzzes, group projects and group discussions. 8. Student ownership in the learning process will increase and he/she would now be the clarifier and the problem solving specialist. 9. Classrooms would move towards becoming paperless and more computer based. Physical classes may simply disappear and its place may be taken up by a virtual community of teachers and students all connected with computers. 10. Monitoring will become more important as students will incorporate so much independence into their learning processes. 

You can take the horse to the river but you can’t make it drink water. So far we had been the reluctant adapters to technology change around us but now, it seems Covid has made the horse drink water. Continued lockdown has compelled us to purchase online, make banking transactions online like paying premiums, electricity bills or even school fees and make office your home & even participate in official meetings thanks to Zoom and Google meet softwares. Education is no stranger to these current developments. During this lockdown period, school kids have gone online. They are getting their class room tutorial videos, online notes and reading materials on WhatsApp and You Tubes. Several colleges and universities have also commenced imparting online education. IGNOU has been one of the pioneers in the field and has provided links to its learners to attend lectures and classes of professors online. Zoom is being made good use of in Induction meetings/Orientations to impart training to learners and functionaries of Study Centres.

There are factors that have facilitated the growth of digital education. Personalised, mobile and reliable apps have been created to teach students, help them practise their learning , take assignments and manage their study schedules. Schools are providing desktop computer, laptops and tablets to their students. Learning is becoming mobile based and video based. Two way communication is possible in e-learning. There are Open Education Resources. In the case of IGNOU, there is e-Gyankosh. There is also usage of VR (Virtual reality) and AR (Augmented reality) for learning. VR allows students using e-learning platforms on mobile devices to directly interact with study materials. On the other hand, AR facilitates teachers and trainers in performing tasks they previously haven’t. Online courses have gained immense recognition of late. Many educational institutions have designed online courses and even the educational regulators are not averse to academic credentials gained through open education. IGNOU provides a plethora of degree, post degree, certificate and diploma courses covering more than 250 programmes.

The biggest advantage of this online or its previous version, distance education is that it is a blessing in disguise for people who, for one reason for the other, could not complete their formal education. Distance learners include thousands of home makers, employed people who wish to upgrade their skills and credentials and economically weak people who can’t afford even minimum costs of formal classroom education. Decentralisation of education has been one of the avowed policies of almost all the governments that the nation has seen since independence. Rural parts of the country and the smaller towns witnessed the setting up of several colleges to make education accessible to most of the population. Even bigger universities set up their regional centres. As part of its ambitious mission, IGNOU embarked on a policy of establishing Regional Centres all across the country to cater to the needs of the masses who were cut off socially and geographically from the rest of the country. Today there are 56 odd Regional Centres of IGNOU spread all across the length and breadth of the country.

Online education has manifested the futility of having a plethora of Facilitation and Regional Centres in remote places when every activity can be integrated, networked and linked together easily by having a fewer Control/Command centres. Once you do this, you realise you are saving a lot of resources for other innovative works. At a time when the Covid pandemic has shattered the economies of many nations, including India, every educational institution must try to optimise the use of its resources. Thankfully, the penetration of online digital education would eliminate the need for physical space & classrooms. This would result in cost cutting and diversion of resources to other priority areas.

Online education is a reality that can’t be simply wished away. It is here to stay. The sooner we adapt to this, the better it is for us. You do not know for how long Covid will keep you locked inside. There is no guarantee that another virus of this sort will not erupt in near future. Environmental degradation and alarming pollution levels are a grim outcome of our development process. Who knows you may not be able to venture outside your house for days in the coming time? It would only be Online education during these testing times that would provide you the ray of hope and knowledge.

As per the figures released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, by the end of 2019, the number of internet users is 526 million approximately which is likely to increase to 667 millions by 2023 end. India is the second largest internet user in the world after China. Most of the people use mobile phones in India and maximum internet usage is via mobiles. When we look at demography, we come across as a relatively younger nation in which more than 50 percent of the population is below the age of 25. With the burgeoning demand for education for this young population segment and the increasing internet penetration both in rural & urban India, there is tremendous potential for the growth of digital education in the country. 

  Support Us  

OpIndia is not rich like the mainstream media. Even a small contribution by you will help us keep running. Consider making a voluntary payment.

Trending now

Jai prakash Ojha
Jai prakash Ojha
The author works with IGNOU as Assistant Registrar. He frequently blogs/writes articles on social and political subjects. A post graduate in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations, he also holds a post graduate diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication. He may contacted on [email protected]. Read his articles on ojhajp.blogspot,com
- Advertisement -

Latest News

Recently Popular