“Education is the movement from darkness to light”- Allan Bloom
Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak possess a serious concern to the complete world along with the educational systems. It also scheduled the closure of schools for an uncertain period all over the world that leftover billions of students out of school. It almost pushed the world into the dark future of illiteracy and unemployment with an adverse effect on decrease research scope, decreased access to education along with learning disruptions also with an economic crisis on other hand.
Along with other things, there may be some positive effects compared to the negative effects of the pandemic. As we are now technological edge, technology comes forward as the saviour from this dark future of ours as expected. In this case, e-learning or virtual learning takes lead to continue the growth of learning in the pandemic situation. Platforms like Google Classroom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, Cisco WebEx, Zoom, etc. are mostly used by schools & colleges for continuing studies among the learners. The platforms like Coursera, Edx, Udemy, Alison, etc. are used by learners personally for skill development in the leisure time during the pandemic with or without spending a minimum amount of money. Overall, this pandemic taught us to be self-motivated, productive instead of spending time staying home.
Although there are maybe some positive effects of a pandemic on the educational system, there are a lot more than negative effects on the educational system. The virtual learning may be helpful for primary & secondary students, but this will be like the slow killing poison for the higher secondary, college students as there are no practical or research scope in their studies. It’s killing the interest and fun of learning without practical knowledge.
More than this, learners from the remote area they are even unable to attend the classes due to poor connection of internet, poor knowledge about technology also for some of belongs from economical background class that they may be have not enough resource to have smartphone or laptop for e-learning or virtual learning. This e-learning is going to be more difficult as some of the teachers feel uncomfortable taking classes online rather than offline & also, they are usually less tech-savvy than this current generation. Lack of surveillance and guidance, some of the learners tend to contact cheating via academic file sharing and exam cheating.
According to UNESCO, there are some adverse effects of School closing.
- It also decreases the social interaction between the learners, which is one of the important things for practical learning.
- Moving classroom out from the classroom to online, it also presents a humorous challenge both physically & technically on especially on the teachers, who are unprepared for this kind of situation, who are sometimes unsure how to maintain a smooth connection with students also unsure about their obligations also feels sometimes feels messy, frustrated on the current situation as well as context of the e-learning. This situation kind of similar to the working parents.
- In India, 90% of the learners depend on the schools not only from the aids, but they also, depending on free or discounted supplied meals. During the school closure, they are facing educational problems with the malnutrition problem.
The sudden pandemic almost forced us to lock ourselves into our house & also to do distance learning for almost over a year. Despite all positivity & negativity, learners also facing some challenges during e-learning. As per our psychology, we are mostly tending to prefer the comfort of our own place for studying purpose with an almost needful thing in our hand. However, learning from our home is one of the challenging things for the student because of accessibility of study materials, poor internet, disturbing surrounding, power cut problem, lack knowledge of technology & also maybe for economic condition.
Keeping the current situation in mind, UNESCO & Open Education Resources also suggests some recommendation regarding e-learning.
- A sufficient measure/ survey to ensure that all kind of students have access to the distance learning program offered by respective school/ college authority despite all social barriers. In case, if there is some limitation for distance learning programs the authority can provide the distance learning program from their labs with internet connectivity to support them.
- During accessing the internet for the distance learning or some individual learning purposes during sharing them with individuals or organizations, one should aware of his/ her data security on the web spaces from the cyber-crime.
- As we are all unaware of the pandemic situation from our early experiences, the learners should have a planned schedule for studying purposes with the help of teachers & parents for focusing, self- encouraging learning new knowledge. The schedule should be depending on the needs of the students, level of study, parents & teachers’ guidance and also on the situation of the affected zone.
- The parents, teachers & school authorities maybe create a community, for sharing the problem regarding the learner’s educational problems along with their experiences, mental conditions, strategies for upcoming days
- The distance learning medium should be decided by the authorities keeping in mind the reliability of local power supplies, internet connection, technological skills of students & teachers. This could be arranged by video lectures through the various platforms, MOOCs, social media and also broadcasting via TVs and radio.
- The International Council for Open and Distance Education issued a special website to provide webinars, tips for online teaching and resources for teachers as well parents to support the learners.
- There should be some rules implanted by authorities with the consent of teachers & parents. The authorities should design the curriculum, assignments, tests, exercises neatly to monitor learner’s improvement or problems and also to avoid overloading learners with unnecessary tests & assignments and also, they must look into student’s feedback for suggestions for improvement.
- Authorities should keep in mind the fact of blending tools that are available for the maximum number of students for both synchronous & asynchronous learning & communication.
Although we all are going through some tough conditions including educational problems, the pandemic also taught us how to survive in tough situations, how to take care of ourselves along with our family members. The pandemic clearly taught a redefining meaning of necessity and necessary items in our life. It also made us productive in our leisure time to avoid wasting of valuable time & money. As a human being, we must have gain experience from our experience & apply them in a good way in our future to make our own future safe & secure.
Author: Unmesh Roy from National Institute of Technology, Durgapur.