Covid-19 forced the Indian education system to opt for virtual classes in order to maintain social distancing for preventing the spread of the virus. Before this, the idea of ever happening a chance to not go to school and study while sitting at home sounded exciting to most of the students. But with no other option than learning through the virtual medium was imposed, several challenges were witnessed. Students started finding it difficult to attend classes while being among family members and felt that learning was much better when they went to schools or college. E-learning was never a new concept, in form of several virtual tutorial flatforms it was always there, but the pandemic made it a necessary mode of learning at all the levels of education departments.
Due to the pandemic, as per UNESCO, around 1.37 billion students in 138 countries got affected by the closure of schools and universities. The report further states that almost 60.2 million teachers of schools and colleges are unable to take online classes.
The virtual concept of learning can be a boon if managed properly, and hence the foremost challenge faced with online structure is that as Indian schools and colleges are not equipped well, hence it is observed that virtual classes take more time than physical classes. Due to no personal contact, students are seen developing a sense of isolation, because the online system of learning requires one to be an active learner while handling various online learning tools, which might be a challenge for not so technologically friendly children. Where in a physical classroom one always has a supervisor/teacher/monitor to push you, in the case of online classes every child is responsible for his/her own learning graph. Students have contended that discussions are not the same in virtual classes as compared with normal classes.
Lack of resources
The Niti Ayaog in its report; ‘Strategy for New India @75’ pointed out that even now, there are around 55,000 villages in the country that are out of mobile network coverage area. As internet accessibility is a problematic situation, students belonging to urban areas could only be seen benefiting from it, rather children in the rural areas suffered a huge educational loss. Online classes require facilities like laptops, smartphones, strong bandwidth internet connection, which is not an affordable option for many. Looking at the current situation, it is only believed that the current online system may only increase the digital divide among several students and parents.
The new National Education Policy(NEP) is actively working upon making the Indian education system digitally compatible, but such policies are seen excluding a significant section of students who do not have access to resources like laptops or smartphones, or the internet. It is a good attempt to prevent drop-outs, but it will also have to focus to ensure that all students are provided the required devices and good internet connection.