Kuldeep Singh Katoch
India holds an important place in education industry. India being the second most populated country after China has huge number of students at both school and college level. And according to one report in India total students population is around 40 crores who are pursuing their education through regular or distance mode. India’s higher education system is the third largest in the world in terms of students next to the United States and China, while the number of students at school level has also massively increased during the past few decades. But when we talk about quality education and smart classroom in our country India is far lagging behind even after the long period of independence. We are still following traditional, orthodox and out dated approaches to teach our students irrespective of several Government and private institutions situated in affluent and big advanced cities. The condition of Government schools as compared to private schools of the country is very heartrending and unpleasant. The system of our schools indicates that there is the lack of technology infrastructure in classrooms, insufficient capacity of computing devices and lack of well trained teachers and other factors which are making our education system stagnant and obsolete. Due to the outbreak of global pandemic COVID-19 which has taken a massive hit on all the sectors, and it has mostly affected to those sectors which are not technically advanced and weak in terms of technological infrastructure because Corona virus outbreak has forced each and everyone to stay at home and work from home. As pandemic has disrupted the education system, it’s very challenging time for both students and teachers. Amid nationwide lockdown Government of India has instructed all the teachers of Government and private institutions to take online classes from home to contain the spread of Covid -19 pandemic. But during these fifty days lockdown Indian teachers after making all efforts realized that providing e-education is no child’s play and they required a lot more to make the mission successful, means. As according to UNESCO report In India, more than 32 crore students have been affected by the various restrictions and nationwide lockdown, which was imposed by the government of India, the report notes that students from classes 9 to 12 were most severely impacted by this lockdown which was imposed on 25th of March in 2020.
It is assumed by the experts that only 15 to 20 percent school students are taking advantage of online classes across the country but these students belong to high profile families who are living in the advanced cities of India and getting their education in top schools of India which are equipped with very sound technological infrastructure. The research shows that only 10 to 15 percent school going students are having smart phones and computers in their houses and about 20 percent students in rural areas are using the phone of one of their family members to attend online classes, 30 to 40 percent students are without smart phones or without internet facility in rural areas and teachers have to contact these students through voice calling on their simple phones which is never easy for any teacher or student to make sense of any topic especially when the student is at school stage. And the research shows that in rural areas around 10 to 15 percent of students who are without any kind of phone or have no mobile network in their homes or the person who is having the phone in the family is not at home when a teacher tries to contact him to talk student about his study related issues.
In India according to Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) report in November 2019 there were 504 million smart phone users, so it clearly depicts that teaching from home to students is a great challenge for any teacher especially in rural areas where our 70% population lives. Many of the teachers who are working in rural area schools told that they are anxious and guilty for their students who are poor and do not have access to mobiles, laptops and computers. Because of all these issues teachers find that the participation of students in online classes very low. And moreover the awful experience for teachers is that after hours of preparation on class while teaching online to students’ teachers on a computer screen could hardly make any sense to students. So even hours of effort of teacher fails when they are not able to deliver in a proper way as they have prepared because neither teacher nor students are addicted of these things.
Amidst the out break of COVID-19 Government of India instructed all the teachers to take online classes from home to ensure no stone is left unturned to complete the syllabus of students on time and teachers are asked to give report on daily basis to confirm how many students are getting benefit of online classes with the help of some online portals and websites. However, we hope that in future Government would ponder over all these issues and take solid steps to make the country more advanced in term of technology at school level so that the students who are the future of our country would not suffer any more in any kind of situation.
Kuldeep Singh Katoch