Education in Pandemic: How normal is 'New Normal' ?
Education and learning are fundamental they must not stop rather adapt to changing ways, be it formal or informal or even digital.
In the wake of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the entire globe has landed in uncertain territory. These unprecedented times have imposed many unavoidable changes in the lifestyle and working of the people sooner than the realization. Gone are the days when mothers used to struggle with the child to wake up and run behind the school bus and when schools were bustling with children giving hard times to the teachers. ‘Smart Classes’ a fancy term, once was an add-on to the mainstream traditional learning method, has now become a reality and a necessity.
Online education has become a default mode to operate in the current situation and has forced students to learn from the screens of the gadgets. But, in these strange times when the country is digitizing at such a dramatic pace, a major fundamental question arises whether all sectors and sections of people are actually comfortable with this radical change? Affordability was and continues to be a struggle in the changed scenario too. This emergent situation has necessitated the procurement of devices compatible with virtual platforms and internet connectivity which eventually has burdened the families, already economically distressed, with additional expenses.
A digitally changing world has entirely transformed learning methods. A person learns in three different ways, family learning which is more of an informal way of learning, classroom learning where things go formal and disciplined and the most crucial, peer learning, which conditions the personality of the individual.
Nowadays, it has become a strange amalgamation of home and classroom learning and has entirely eliminated the peer learning experience. At a tender age when collective learning plays a vital role in nurturing, the right attitude and aptitude in an individual the digitized generation has gone into complete social isolation. This has not only hampered personality development but has also affected the learning efficiency of the student. Another drawback is the drastic communication barrier between the student-teacher. With the online mode, there is no proper exchange of kinesthetic cues and gestures which leads to disruption in receiving the information by the student.
The online mode has also limited the learning options. A large portion of online education remains mainly bookish and theoretical. This has put practical skill training at a halt. There are many subjects that essentially require hands-on training or experiments which are difficult to be taught.
Although the online mode of education has proved to be a saviour in these unimaginable times and has turned out to be a necessity, still it has its own demerits. Increased hours of screen time is resulting in stressed eyes and headaches. However, online mode is definitely the need of the hour. Online education is better than no education.