The online learning is the much awaited reform in the Indian education system, says Dr. R.L. Raina, Vice Chancellor of JK Lakshmipat University in Jaipur.
Talking to The Indian News, in a free-wheeling chat with the Editor, Jayashankar Menon, Dr. Raina speaks about the need to bring in the reform in Indian Education System given the current pandemic lock down situation and more. Excerpts:
TIN: Could you explain what is the stellar role, Internet Technology is going to play in terms of Indian Education System, going forward?
RLR: At the launch of India’s 2020-21 budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had highlighted about the new educational policy which the government is currently 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 that, the policy encourages Indian institutions not only to develop their own online programs, but also to recognize and award credit for online programs offered by foreign institutions. And, who knew that it will happen within few months? Self quarantine and social-distancing during the times of coronavirus pandemic have forced the educational institutions to suspend classes and shift to the online medium in order to continue the process of education.
Internet has brought a revolution across different sectors right from the way we order food, book a cab or for that matter in our education. Teachers have been using technology in their classrooms to make the 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 bandwidth. However, similar to classroom education, it requires self-discipline, time management skills, determination and a strong motivation. And, making the best use of online education is the key.
TIN: What are the ways you suggest in terms of making ourselves ready to accept the new change of e-learning?
RLR: First thing is to give importance to the virtual classes just like the real classes. As this is a new form of learning, there are chances that the students might not take it seriously as they have teachers to monitor them. One should make it a habit to sit for their 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 will study the topic at home. It’s advisable that students should read about the topic once before.
TIN: How to address the bridging the teacher gap?
RLR: According to a a report issued by Ministry of Human Resource and Development pointed out that mostly schools have less number of faculty members than the required numbers because of which they don’t able to focus on each students in the classrooms. This had made the students unable to to utilise their time effectively in the classrooms. But, now with evolving technology, there are new developments. The information at one click has made the education process interesting and knowledgeable. Through online learning, students not only have the access to quality education but also seasoned professional and professors. They make the learning process fun by introducing puzzle and quizzes to hold the attention of the children.
TIN: Is the associated cost of online learning low?
RLR: 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 then you will find that than the one-time cost attached to online learning. Not just the 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 resources, students can access it at a much lower cost through e-learning. In classroom learning, students have to spend not just only in education but also in the lodging and commuting as well. With the advent of e-learning resources, students can access quality education at a much lower cost.
TIN: Can we afford to forget classroom learning altogether?
RLR: We can’t forget classroom learning. We are thankful that the coronavirus pandemic has brought 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. But at the same time, classroom education has its own benefits. We cannot completely rule out the advents of classroom education. In these challenging times, the online education will surely bridge the gap in the education ecosystem and give the requisite room for improvement.