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School education in India post Covid era

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School education in India

Using technology as a learning medium will definitely prove to be more effective than the traditional method of using books and charts for illustrational purposes. Detailed report by Pankaj Samantray of Elets News Network.

F rom last three months, there is an uncertainly looming over the education sector across the globe. The schools in India are closed from mid-March. Before COVID-19 disrupted lives and forced children to open laptops and learn from home, the first day of schoolwas the start of a life-determining journey for many.

From kindergarten to year 12, classrooms are run by teachers who deliver lessons that start and end with a bell.

They set tests, watch over examinations, and give marks that delight, disappoint, or even surprise parents.

This one-size-fits-all approach to education has been in place for a couple of hundred years. The response to the coronavirus has demonstrated how technology can help transform how we teach and learn. But the push for change started long before the pandemic struck, and it will go on long after the threat subsides.

Also read: Punjab govt cancels class 10th exams over COVID19

For years, policymakers have been exploring new transformative approaches to K-12 education that go far beyond just online lessons at home.

As lockdowns ease and schools will start to re-open after few days, it’s as good a time as any to take stock and look at the likely future of education.

Children who will start school will grow up to be future leaders a digital-first world that will demand new skills and new ways of thinking.

To succeed in life and at work, they will need all the social, emotional, and academic support they can get via rich and flexible learning experiences that will differ vastly from the schooldays of their parents.

Education’s age-old three Rs – Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic – are being joined by a fourth: Rethink.

New data-based technologies are opening up ways to transform practices, structures, and even cultures in schools.

Personalized learning is a holistic approach that must do more than only focus on academic progress.

It will also help teachers stay on top of, and adjust to, factors that affect social and emotional well-being. Teachers will be able to ensure students feel inspired, safe, valued, and able to learn in ways previously not possible.

New learning tools will also be able to adjust to the needs of individual students – without instructions or intervention from their teachers.

It would be like one of those virtual ten teachers turning up the brightness of a screen without bothering to tell the teacher. The smarter the technology gets, the more the teacher is supported and empowered.

In India, traditional teaching practices are still not changed at many remote and underprivileged places where having a school itself is like a luxury. Classrooms with minimum facilities and premises with basic hygiene are like a challenge faced by the school authorities every year. At these circumstances, affording a technology friendly learning environment is like a mammoth task. E-Boards, smart classes and digital teaching equipment like AV screens or projectors look like a long lost dream for such children. The Indian government does provide grants every year for such schools. Yet getting technology into the scene will take a good amount of time.

The schools in the cities, on the other hand, are now emerging into better than the best institutions with the rise of techno-friendly learning platforms coming into existence. Blackboards are replaced by projectors and post-school tutoring has been replaced by learning apps that are extremely user-friendly and gives an in-depth knowledge about a topic via various perspectives and theories. Learning is no more a straight path. It is not a royal highway with many deviations leading to the success destination.

There are certain pros and cons of technology usage in schools:

Pros:

-Using technology as a learning medium will definitely prove to be more effective than the traditional method of using books and charts for illustrational purposes. The colourful visuals tend to stay in their minds for longer than the printed, stagnant material in the books

– It is evident that in today’s world, there is hardly any job or a career that does not require any usage of technical jargon or technological stuff. A kid who can operate a PC easily today could perform better during his days of becoming a Software Engineer, or a child who grows up looking at better educational AV visuals turns out to be a great dreamer

-Technology gives wings for their imagination and prepares them for an obvious tomorrow which includes the compulsion of using smart gadgets.

Virtual classroom

-Inclination towards technology could prove a costeffective way of learning. Spending less over books and updating the technological application will for sure go lite over the parents’ pockets. Each year parents spend a good amount of money over the books which are perishable and difficult to carry

Con:

-Affordability of stuff can pinch the pockets of those parents for whom affording quality education for their children itself is a challenge. The below poverty income group crowd, who can barely afford books admission, can only see technology aided learning as an impossible dream.

-Technology brings in a lot of health hazards with it. Each day doctors are recording many of their patients struggling with vision and concentration-related problems which come as an unpleasant gift for loving these gadgets more than required.

-Usage of tablets for studies or for fun can prove very dangerous if not used for a recommended duration.

The young eyes and brains are under constant risk which is a serious concern for parents.

-Tools like auto-correct and spell-check are spoiling the skills of the children to a certain extent. The prominence given to handwritten scripts/assignments is gradually diminishing with the birth of the online submitting provision.

-Virtual classrooms have given a back seat to a good parent-teacher relationship. Things are for sure becoming easy but at the same time it has decreased that zest for listening to a nice lecture from a scholarly teacher who explains a concept of germination the way it has to be and doesn’t just show videos at YouTube or any learning apps as a part of conceptual learning.

In India, the Ministry of Human Resource Development is formulating safety guidelines to be followed whenever classroom learning is resumed. This will also prepare school systems to face such pandemics in the future more efficiently and without prolonged disruption, as well as move towards building a strong public education system in the country. COVID-19 did teach us how schooling is not equivalent to merely learning, but encompasses a social space, a social process, to learn to live, think and act for one’s self and the collective good. In this ‘new normal’, changed behaviour of people and changed centralised norms and guidelines could lead to a situation where forms of governance and participation may change. Virtualisation of teaching may impact the social relation between peers, teachers and school and community on the whole. The social class gap between the teachers and students may widen after the school reopens post-lockdown.

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