Ministry of Information Technology recently disclosed that number of internet users are more in rural India as compared to urban. In terms of consumption of data, rural India has surpassed the urban hubs. It’s very indicative and has a lot of impact in every sector. This LOCKDOWN has affected each and every sector and education sector is also not an exception. There is no doubt that students are getting badly affected due to this unwarranted crisis. However, the alternate side of the coin merits to be scrutinised. There is a bright side too. . Institutional education, that is confined within the four walls of classrooms, have transformed into virtual classrooms aided by digital environments and this change in the education structure will bring positive changes in the system.
Education includes research, study and evaluation. Classes are being conducted through different video conferencing applications like Skype, Zoom, Google Team, Google Hangout, Google Classroom, Cisco-WebEx and the list will increase. Many universities are tying up with IT companies to develop digital platform for the students. IT companies are also competing with each other in the field of developing user friendly and interactive platform for the education sector. Students and teachers will be connected through such platforms for interacting and learning. This form of education will continue to gain muscles as educational institutes would aim to reap the most out of the investments they make. Therefore, an extensive database of video lectures is being developed which would cater to the needs of students and prove to be a valuable asset in the near future. In India majority of the students are from rural areas and they are joining in the virtual classroom through smart-phones. This is the reason the number of internet user is now more in rural India than urban. The day is not far away when internet will be considered as an intrinsic part of everyday life, i.e right to life. As right to education is fundamental right in India and when that will be dependent on internet then it will obviate the State to declare as fundamental right, as is the case in numerous Scandinavian countries.
This pandemic is helping to develop that online infrastructure which will bring about a revolution in the education system. Innovative methods are being implemented to conduct classes virtually which will help the students to come out of the boring monotonous classroom lectures. There will be a shift from knowledge-based education system to skill-based education system. Needless to say, students will be benefitted out of that and they would have enough time at their disposal to multitasking. They can earn and continue education simultaneously. As a teacher, I have experienced that the attendance of students in virtual classrooms is more than classrooms in colleges which exudes the technologically dependant nature of the present generation in schools and colleges. In the post COVID-19 era, teachers would be compelled to have a fragment of the syllabus to be covered online.
The online evaluation pattern will also witness substantial reformation. Teachers have to frame application based question intelligently so that answers will not be available directly either from book or online. Naturally, students will be more analytical in answering those questions and will be more innovative. Education wouldn’t be only degree centric. Skill and value-based education would gain muscles in the aftermath of the LOCKDOWN. It is observed that many famous universities are offering online courses. In future also students will like to have knowledge through webinar or some other means. Distance education would thrive once again. Information is already available in the digital platform so students will not come in the class for the same information again and would rather dedicate that time elsewhere. Rather they will prefer skill as well as value based education.
Artificial Intelligence, commonly known as AI, would further consolidate the use of virtual classrooms and promote online education. AI will substitute those administrative posts where archetypal administrative work is done by humans. It will open the floodgates of research in interdisciplinary fields. Teachers spend a lot of time in administrative work and evaluating copies. AI can perform all those work and teachers will get more time to devote in research. Collecting data from in-app or following online movement of a teachers AI can easily figure out what method of learning will be best for a teacher. In such way the efficiency of the teacher will be increased and the same will be output-oriented.
If the academicians are thinking that this is temporary, they are living in fool’s paradise. This change will make a great impact on the education system even when the world will breathe fresh air bereft of any viruses.
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