By Vishal VijayvargiyaM. Sc. (Horticulture) Scholar, Bhagwant University, Ajmer, Rajasthan
As we know that due to corona virus pandemic spreading now in India, massive consequences to health and livelihood are feared. COVID-19 is impacting almost every sector. The education sector is no exception. Colleges, schools, and institutes are closed and students are at home with the minimal contact with friends. In the COVID days, everything is virtual; with no physical movement, universities, colleges, schools, institutes of all levels have deferred or postponed the classes and examinations. The Corona virus pandemic has had a major impact on education – both in negative and positive way. What exactly are the risks and opportunities brought about by Corona virus pandemic ?
This article is mostly descriptive in nature. Secondary sources of data have been used for the article. Those have been collected from different published sources like books, journals, newspapers and magazines, and websites.
Scenario of education system in corona virus pandemic
1. As discussed above, all major entrance examinations are adjourned including medical, engineering, agriculture, law, courses, etc. This situation rings an alarming bell mainly in private colleges and universities. Students are being restless due to their postponed entrances. Whereas some faculties and employees may face salary cuts, their bonuses and increments can also be adjourned.
2. The lockdown has generated incertitude over the exam cycle. Many colleges and universities may face impact in terms of a slow down in student internships and placements, lower fee collection that can create hurdles in managing the working capital.
3. Student counselling operations are also affected.
4. Several institutions may pause faculty hiring plans for existing vacancies which in turn affect quality and excellence.
5. The structure of schooling and learning includes teaching and assessment methodologies as a whole is affected due to closure.
6. In the time of Lockdown, technology can play an vital role, like studying from home and working from home. In India, majority of private institutions and several renowned government institutes may adopt online teaching methods. But Institutions in rural or interior areas of country with low-income and less-tech-supports may not be able to adopt online learning methods. And consequently, e-learning will result in economic and social stress causing severe Digital Diversification in the field of education. Many universities in many countries are highly dependent on cross-border movement of students. Present situation puts a halt over such movements. Both inter and intra-country movement is paused which may result in loss of academic year for the students if this situation persists for a long time.
Probable solutions for interrupted education during COVID-19
But we can’t neglect the fact that technology is playing a vital role in the educational system in this current pandemic situations…..
Internet connectivity is the foremost necessary to explore digital learning. But in a country where around 60% population resides in BPL, it is a next to impossible task to provide everyone the internet connectivity. Studies show that only 30% of students in India can afford or have access to internet connection. Hence the Government should lead the way to provide support for digitization both to the teachers and the students. Students coming from low-income groups can be given technical aids freely or in a subsidized rate.
Amidst such Lockdown condition, Distance learning programs can be included and there is a necessity to explore digital learning platforms both by teachers and students.
Digital skills of teachers and students must be improved via proper training and guidance.
But it is also the fact that, how can we impose Digital Learning in such a country where we have to advertise Mid-day Meal scheme to attract students to school learning ???
Negative impacts of COVID-19 on education
Given the current situation, it is important to see that what has happened and what is likely to happen in the field of education. There are a number of potential ill impacts on education due to this pandemic situation.
Risk of Passive Learning: In countries like India, where online learning structure is not ready and online course is also not designed, this situation has left most of our students at risk of becoming passive learners. In many parts of India still now electricity and internet connectivity is not fully available. As the Online Learning continues, most of the students find it not suitable and boring and there is a huge chance that they will be in the online classes merely for attendance, moving away from actual learning.
Problems faced by the educators: Online teaching is a special practice and not all teachers are accustomed with it. Not all of them were ready for this sudden transition in the way of teaching. From Blackboard to Video Lectures, it is always staging a problem for the teachers to cope up with, especially to the elderly teachers who are not so much technically sound. It is also sad to say that, many teachers are facing humiliation also in the online classes due to anonymity of the students in the virtual world.
Changing scenario of student admissions: Students from universities and colleges may have to take a big risk in their admissions and recruitment. Because some boards have decided to take admission of students without entrance examination.Some examinations are postponed till further notice. There is always a chance that they will have to revisit their admission practices, admission criteria and overall recruitment processes once the situation gets to normal. New methods of outreach may have to be implemented. Universities, dependent on cross-border movement of students, are facing a huge problem as the inter and intra-country movement is stalled due to the pandemic all over the globe.
Positive changes in education due to COVID-19
Yes, you read it right !!!
As we know, change is the law of the world. Any change that is so disruptive is also likely to bring with it some new opportunities. The changing scenario of the education system worldwide and especially in a country like India, is bound to bring forth a whole new planned reform in the education system and policy.
Rise in Blended Learning: Blended learning is a new method of education. In this method students learn through electronic media and online platform like youtube, Institute application (App), websites, whatsapp, video calling and conference applications, online classroom etc.along with the traditional learning system. In this type of education method students put focus on their assignments, notes, home work etc. which they can with each other. This provokes the spirit of Team-learning. Scientific studies show that students are likely to enjoy more in this kind of lerning.
Learning management systems to be the new norm: There is a golden opportunity for companies that are developing and strengthening online learning management systems for universities and colleges. The sector has the potential to grow at a very fast pace in this current situation, but it must also be checked that it is available to all at a reasonable value and there is no monopoly.
Improvement in learning material: Teaching materials used in previously in schools, colleges and universities now have a great opportunity to be improved for quality education. Also the materials must be upgraded finding new ways of design, approach and delivery so that it can be utilized in the new era of blended learning. A variety of online learning platforms are emerging to cope up with this new learning pattern. It is apprehended that this change of education system will bring more openness and transparency in learning mechanism.
What can we conclude?
Among all the negativeness of the dreadful pandemic, the Indian education is currently standing in such a situation where we can convert disaster into opportunity and we can adopt new education model. The learning community in India has been largely untouched by digital learning and there is a huge potential for exploring the sector. Teachers can extend their online courses to the students even for competitive examinations. This can also set up a sense of cooperation between teachers and students across the country which can benefit both of the strata.
India has undergone several reforms in the higher education sector formerly, but now it is evident that in near future it will undergo a major transformation. We can certainly hypothesize how higher education globally and in India is going to be shaped differently in this pandemic situation. It is expected that teleconferencing will increase in a big way, a large number of academic meeting seminars and conferences will be held online though webinars and online conferencing. New online platforms are also likely to be revealed in this scenario.
- Prof Kamlesh Misra, Vice-Chancellor, Rishihood University (PhD Northeastern University, Boston), “Education: From disruption to recovery”. UNESCO. 2020-03-04. Retrieved 2020-06-10.
- “COVID-19 Educational Disruption and Response”. UNESCO. 2020-03-04. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
- Karp P, McGowan M (2020-03-23). “‘Clear as mud’: schools ask for online learning help as coronavirus policy confusion persists”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-03-23.