06 JUL,2020 | MEDC
Covid-19 has led to profound changes in many sectors, but probably none as much as that in education. Online education has now become the norm. On one hand, this could lead to an enhanced instruction experience, but, on the other, it could sharpen the existing socioeconomic divide amongst students. Online learning is primarily an asynchronous mode of learning wherein each learner learns at their own time and pace. This is vastly different from the traditional classroom learning process in which all students (regardless of their aptitude) are expected to learn the same material in the same timeframe. Asynchronous modes of learning have their own advantages, but they do not – at least as yet – have the same legitimacy that synchronous modes of learning have. Students can (justifiably) say that they earned their degree from a prestigious school or college, but when it is earned online hardly any such credit can be claimed. Unless online education gets the same social acceptability that traditional classroom education has, it will be hard to justify to parents and teachers that it really does add value to the child’s future prospects in becoming a productive individual and securing suitable employment. And while we should be thankful that technology has made it possible for students to continue their education in these abnormal circumstances, we also cannot afford to forget those who will be left behind by being unable to afford the tools that this new learning process demands. An unsustainable education system will sow the seeds of its own destruction.In this age of uncertainty, every avenue for human resource development needs to be explored. However, just because the pandemic has forced us to take education online, it does not mean that we have to replicate the physical world in a cyber setting. Both modes of instruction have their pros and cons, and the golden mean needs to be found. If the present circumstances are an impetus for change, we should use this opportunity to fundamentally alter our education system, by making it more relatable to the real world. Indian students have suffered enough due to a half-baked education system, and this lockdown induced challenge should be seen as an opportunity to reinvent it with a healthy dose of creativity and dynamism. Education will be a key determinant of the future competitiveness of our workforce, and we need to start preparing earnestly for the post-Covid world.
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