01 Jun 2020 20:03 IST

Online lessons: The much-awaited reform in India’s education system

With self-discipline and strong motivation, students can get the most out of tech-enabled learning

Unveiling India’s 2020-21 Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman highlighted the new educational policy that the government is working on. A draft version of the policy outlines the important role online learning could play in reforming India’s education system and expanding access to higher education. Besides, the policy encourages Indian institutions not only to develop their own online programmes, but also to recognise and award credit for online programmes offered by foreign institutions.

Who knew that this would all play out within a few months? Self-quarantine and social distancing during the times of the coronavirus pandemic have forced educational institutions to suspend classes and shift to the online medium in order to continue the process of education.

The internet has brought about a revolution across different sectors, right from the way we order food or book a cab or, for that matter, in our education. Teachers have been using technology in their classrooms to make learning interesting for students, and at the same time, students have been using internet predominantly to do more in-depth research on the subjects of their interest.

Online learning is a very convenient mode for students, provided they have good internet bandwidth. However, similar to classroom education, it requires self-discipline, time-management skills, determination and a strong motivation. Learning to make the best use of online education is the key.

Here are some ways you can make yourself ready to accept the new world of e-learning:

Online classes are important

As this is a new form of learning, there are chances that students might not take it seriously as they have no teachers to monitor them. One should make it a habit to sit for one’s online class with utmost sincerity. There might be some problem in understanding a concept at one go. But don’t fret over it. You can replay the recording of the class later when you study the topic in detail. It’s advisable that students should read up about the topic once before taking the lesson.

Bridging the teacher gap

According to a report issued by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, most schools have fewer number of faculty members than the required strength, because of which they are not able to focus on each student in the classrooms. This has made it difficult for students to utilise their time effectively in the classroom.

But now, with evolving technology, there are new developments. Information at one click has made the education process interesting and meaningful. Through online learning, students not only have access to quality education but also to highly experienced professionals and professors. They make the learning process fun by introducing puzzles and quizzes to hold the attention of the students.

Associated cost of online learning is low

Online learning has made the whole education process affordable. How? If you calculate the total cost of enrolling into a college/university for higher education, you will find that the one-time cost attached to online learning is lower. In regular college/university learning, besides education, the student has to take care of lodging and commuting as well.

Quality education comes at a high cost, but with the advent of e-learning, students can access resources at a much lower cost.

Classroom learning has its own importance

We are thankful that the coronavirus pandemic has brought in a progressive change in the education system, which is battling issues like skill-gap, unemployability, outdated syllabus, lack of hands-on practical experience, lack of quality educators, and so forth. At the same time, classroom education has its own benefits. We cannot completely rule out classroom education. In these challenging times, online education will surely bridge the gap in the education ecosystem and give students the value-added interactions that are so crucial at this time for them to sustain interest in their chosen field of study.

(The author is Vice-Chancellor, JK Lakshmipat University, Jaipur.)

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