The Covid-19 pandemic has forced schools in India to move to virtual classrooms, but the teachers were not prepared for this. Without any training or infrastructure support, school teachers are struggling. Their issues range from basics like internet connectivity and India’s notoriously undependable power supply to more structural issues such as curriculum and teaching methods. Unruly students are making it worse.

As the lockdown relaxes the world over and the educational institutions try to go back to the old norms, the educators of the world need to pause and re-think.

  • Do we want our education system to settle back into the old mould ?
  • Do we want an education system which is based on the physical age of the students, rather than the talent profile?
  • A system where we try to push for generalized education for all and thereby suppress the specialized talent. Can the world afford this? Especially India where 10 million youth come out of school with identical general education and find a bleak future ahead. Or
  • should we take the opportunity to create an education system that focuses on creating more innovators than the perfect job seekers?
  • An education system that is inclusive and accessible equally to all without their social status or income profile.

Let’s not waste the learnings gained during the lockdown. Let’s join hands to redefine what Quality Education means under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals!

1. Electricity-

According to India government country is electrified up to 99% but during the lockdown and mostly in summer there are power challenges not only in rural areas but in some urban areas like Bangalore, Delhi, Patna etc. Only 47% of Indian household receives more than 12 hours of power supply.

India's electricity demand to fall by 1 per cent, register 54 per cent PLF in 2020-21
ICRA said, “Any extension in the lockdown period would have further downside risk for the demand growth. The decline in demand is expected to suppress the thermal PLF on an all India level to about 54 per cent in 2020-2021 against our earlier estimate of 60 per cent,” He added that this would further delay the resolution of stressed thermal assets, a majority of which are impacted by lack of long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs).

2. Internet Connection-

Urban areas having 57% of internet penetration whereas rural areas are at only 27 % according to IAMAI and the most common problem is connectivity and speed during lockdown speed is decreased by 18 % but this also a global problem as the users are continuously using the internet.

Only 8% of homes with young members have computer with net link

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3. Digital divided-

Now what is digital divide? It means that many Indian houses have either access to internet or access to computer. The digital divide is evident across class, gender, region or place of residence. Among the poorest 20% households, only 2.7% have access to a computer and 8.9% to internet facilities. In case of the top 20% households, the proportions are 27.6% and 50.5%.

The difference is apparent across states too. For example, the proportion of households with access to a computer varies from 4.6% in Bihar to 23.5% in Kerala and 35% in Delhi.

4. Online Teaching-

Most of the teachers of India that they might be from school or college don’t have that much amount of experience that they can teach easily, except the teachers of expensive schools and colleges.

Saloni Kumar (name changed), who teaches English to middle- and senior school students at a popular school in Gurugram near Delhi, is usually awake till 3 am almost every night correcting assignments on her laptop or iPad“During the classes, I have no way of knowing who is paying attention and who is not. I’m going to have a nervous breakdown if this continues. My body and brain are tired,” the 34-year-old said.

5. Student Difficulties-

Students have to be disciplined instead of concentrating on entertainment and they are being provided by the non-disturbing environment at home.

6. Gender gap

The gender divide in internet usage is also stark. As per the Internet and Mobile Association of India report, in 2019, while 67% men had access to the internet, this figure was only at 33% for women. The disparity is more prominent in rural India, where the figures are 72% and 28% for men and women, respectively.

Parents are always worried that children will start abusing it. In our Indian society being male-dominated, there is more problem in the online education of women, men are not in favor of giving more mobile or computer to women. There other lots of problem for rural education, online education is a costly affair and more than 60% are not able to afford

Dr Meera Singh-PRINCIPAL IWC HAJIPUR
indian education

7. Data Cost-

It is simply issued to understand that to complete the classes students must have sufficient data at affordable prices.

8. Differentiation:

From online education, We cant differentiate students, or can’t recognise, so that we can not give more attention to those who are not able to focus well.

The internet exposure puts children at the risk of “online sexual exploitation and grooming, as predators look to exploit the Covid-19 pandemic”. 

Online grooming, a worrying product of the internet and social media age, involves predatory adults building online relationships with gullible children and tricking or pressuring them into sexual behaviour.

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