Is Online Education a Way to Move Forward?

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

First of all, apologies for not writing for so long but there is a whole lot of reasons behind it but the most interesting reason is I was giving my online college examinations. I repeatedly said it was a joke and hell yes, it was a joke on both the students and the faculty. No matter, how much I ran from not giving exams, it never felt so stupid. Anyways, I should not blame the organization for that since it is like entering into a new world being unlocked by a few jerks like us; Leveraging the technology into the education system. Trust me, after all this hoax was over, I realized that it can nothing be like all management entrance tests we gave in front of a screen. But yes, it's just a few good solutions which the pandemic has taught us into.

During all this lockdown situation, we have actually learned how important is technological innovation is to all of us and how we can use it for the benefit of us millennials, Generation Z, and Alpha. So, I would tell you how my experience went with an online examination. Too many loopholes to look into. They had a crazy system through which they could monitor our eye movement or any other kind of movement around the place we are sitting, crazy right? All these efforts just to make sure that the students don't cheat in the examination. Well! There are always loopholes (**but wait that's what I told before**) Anyways, with all that, they forgot one thing, to make it a better experience for us first-movers. It was jinxed to a level where at one point, even I was nervous about sitting in front of the camera. But when I actually say the quality, so gross.

But I guess, we were given the benefit of doubt and I think all of us would be toppers this semester (**just kidding**). Anyways, it was not once that I have experienced something new in my life, had been a series of surprises in the education system, first the CGPA system in 10th boards, Four-year program for 3-year graduation which eventually was gone back to 3-years, I mean why to put it 4-years on the first place, waste of energy and resources, and then this. I am a part of the graduate students of 2020 going to witness a virtual convocation, well everything much surprising. But it isn't surprising enough of the fact that 2020 has been like Rahu (**as in Rahu and ketu**) on us. I was never a big fan of writing exams just to prove you are worth passing on to the next year given the fact that all that knowledge is worth nothing when it comes to the real world. In the real world, you learn something totally different from what has been taught to us. But please don't go ahead and start revolting that you don't want to study, sadly we are a part of the Indian Education System where the degree matters the most- pun intended.

So, the Indian education system, lots of improvements needed starting from the fact that the Indian history as is taught to us from class 6th onwards is not how exactly it had to be taught. Shah Jahan was an amazing king who gave us the Taj Mahal but was he really that loving? No, of course not, when you are a part of polygamy. But keeping all these aside, many things needed to be changed right from the pedagogical aspects. The way the entire teaching, assessment, and evaluation had been framed was just not right. If you are 90%+ scorer, you are meant to be an engineer, well bullshit.

With the lockdown starting across various states in India, we saw that all schools and colleges were closing in for months till situations got better but it impacted all those institutions so badly that we totally forgot it amidst our vacation time with families. The losses were in terms of economical, social, and psychological terms to both students and teachers. The focus was made to reinforce technology into the learning mechanism which imposed such a challenge on students and especially the teachers. We know most of them always have trouble working in such a tech-friendly environment and we saw memes and videos of students messing around with those teachers. Well! For me, it was funny enough to see jethalal in the online class, but after a certain point, it wasn't even funny. It was pure mockery but it's fine because we are much smarter than those teachers who actually jingle literally all parts of the body to learn the technology and understand and implement it within the stipulated period. Well! Respect for all of them.

This methodology is actually effective given the situation that the students and the teachers have access to that high-tech internet connectivity, laptops, and smartphones. But do all the 285 million young learners have access to it? No, there are more than 50% who either don't have the resources or the internet connectivity to attend those 5-6 hours of online classes. Not all of them live in the well-developed cities where you get Wifi or Jio cellular network in less than 4 hours. Some many students and teachers are part of the low-income private institutions and government schools who have either fled to their hometowns or are back to completely no access to outgoing learning happening around in the country. What about them? Well, lucky for us some state government like Uttar Pradesh which are using Doordarshan, All India Radio and community radio to impart audio-based learning to the students who don't have internet but that is a long shot since there is a lot of pre-requisites they have to get done before this is a success.

So, I guess the learning and imparting knowledge is one challenge which has been overcome or will be, I am positive about it. But is a school only about learning what is there in those course materials? No, it is much more than that, it teaches the students social learning, communication, sports, and many more. All of which are gone completely. Well, who am I to blame it to the institutions, it not the fault of them, it's just the situation. The education system also didn't plan on something happening anytime in the future. So, yes there is a lot more of learning which is to be done, just like sharing your lunch with your friends at recess, after school Aaloo Patty treats because it is one of your friend's birthday and many more. Yeah, everything had been perfectly blended in nicely but then this big change happened and change never brings happiness.

There are lot more challenges when it comes to the students who have to dig their eyes on the laptop screen and strain their eyes off, to the teachers who still have a lot of difficulty running a smooth online class over WebEx or Zoom and to the parents to make sure that their child is actually learning and not distracted to play PUBG on his smartphone because his/her teacher can't see. But successfully we know we can overcome this because most of the pressure is on the school kids than the college students. There is a simple reason behind it. The kind of education imparted to the school kids is completely different from that in colleges. I guess we all can agree on it.

In colleges, we all just don't care who is teaching what because no matter what the only motive is to pass in the exams because we all have come to the realization that whatever is taught is of no use practically. Just mug up and vomit on the paper. But it's not the case with school kids. They need to learn that Chota bheem, Chutki, and Tuntun mausi are all innocent (**just kidding**). Just years back there was a system of smart classes organized by a few schools and they were blending in but this kind of situation is like you are running out of time.

I think it is a perfect time for the schools and colleges to change the way they have been looking into the education system. There are a whole lot of new things that can be done by them including the concepts of distance learning and ensuring effective delivery of the content to the students in terms of content, quality, assessment, evaluations, adaptability, creativity, and most importantly, emotional intelligence. It is really needed for them to learn all of this to sustain in the future which is full of such challenges no matter where you are. I believe there should an introduction of experiential learning and integrated learning which can be used for the benefit of the country.

We all need to know who the learning outcomes are going to benefit us in the future except the fact that you need to pass with good grades. There should be a use of the Indian traditional knowledge systems into the present-day mainstream universities such as Yoga, metallurgy, hydraulics, agriculture, Indian medicines, etc. All of this would help transform the country using its own ages-old concepts. Who knows, this situation was meant to do good to the education system in some way or the another but it all depends on how we take it forward. Do you really think that the way we have been taught should have been more original and raw?

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