Online classes creating ripples

- but not drowning the centuries of traditional teaching

Education through online classes will assist in reducing the gap as the online content can be shared, forwarded or watched with others. This has made education affordable to people from all socioeconomic classes as well as people living in remote parts of the county.

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Traditionally, our education system comes from years of strict “Gurukul” and “Madarsa” teaching methods, which the Britishers did not change except, they introduced western scientific subjects. The Britishers did not need “educated” Indians, but “literate” ones, who could read, write and speak the English language. This is why we have an obsession with accountants, engineers or doctors and not with scientists, teachers and artists.

Even when kids have their parents’ mobile phones and can access it for rhymes, poems, stories and lectures, India has seen little advancement in its education delivery methods on a larger scale. The interactive videos and applications may have developed interests, increased knowledge but their attachment from school remains the same. In times when technology has surrounded us, education is the only sector that has kept its distance. Although the current online classes may be a new wave of transformation in developing a relationship between educational delivery and technology, yet blackboards and textbooks do not seem to be a thing of the past.

Bridging the gap?

Education in India is filled with inequalities. Haves and have nots go to separate schools and have different perspectives on education. It is more apparent in metropolitans, where merely the school that a kid attends is suggestive of his family’s class, whereas small cities have fewer school options, therefore, it doesn’t leave much room for class bias. Even access to education is different and incomparable between urban and rural India. This inequality does not reflect in just the reception of education but has a butterfly effect on the individual’s personality as well as the opportunities presented.

Education through online classes will assist in reducing the gap as the online content can be shared, forwarded or watched with others. This has made education affordable to people from all socioeconomic classes as well as people living in remote parts of the county.

Currently, we use technology to upskill or enhance ourselves but this online schooling has changed the trend to teach from nursery to K12. This not only will reduce the discrimination amongst our next generation but will also be able to provide equal opportunity to people belonging to all classes and from all geographical locations of the country.

Online classes may have found its space but there is a meek chance that it will disrupt the education system. To achieve the goal of changing education system, parents need to prioritize learning more than marks, problem-solving should be more important than problem remembering and creativity must triumph cramming.

Disrupting status quo?

Our education system is all about cramming and being able to produce it on paper on the day of the exam. It doesn’t test students or teachers; students because it does not engage them in thought and teachers because it doesn’t test their skills. It doesn’t matter if the child remembers it even after the exam. The education system is designed in a way to judge learning by heart (read cramming) capabilities rather than understanding. The current online classes have not changed the system per se but have certainly opened doors to a new world of learning and resources. The online world is filled with lectures on each subject from teachers all over the world. They are designed for each level of the student, so any student at any level can choose their favourite content. The focus has now changed from content to education delivery, resulting in a change in learning by heart method to a method of understanding and applying. It has changed the pace, level of teaching and options from all over the world.

New dawn?

Optimists might say this will obviate our classroom teaching methods completely but I don’t think this is going to happen anytime soon. It is merely a dream as Indian parents may allow educational technology for side learning or an extra course, but replacing traditional schooling seems like a far ahead dream. Another issue with this education system is that the Indian education system has Educational Boards, primarily CBSE, ICSE and State Boards, and these online educational methods are not recognized by any of the boards, hence the schooling system is yet to stay. Currently, the maximum disruption can be in private tuitions or coaching education but adjustments in school education seem like a farfetched idea. `

India has inertia for our traditional classroom teaching. Even when there is a frequent skill change in the job market with technological improvement, the school curricula have remained the same for decades. There are various applications and software for new and creative learning but the backbone of education remains intact. Parents keep reminding children of “Board” exams quoting, “a good score is a guarantee for a successful and happy life.” It is a dream for parents and a nightmare for students. Preparation is based on cramming everything and priority is the marks.

Online classes may have found its space but there is a meek chance that it will disrupt the education system. To achieve the goal of changing education system, parents need to prioritize learning more than marks, problem-solving should be more important than problem remembering and creativity must triumph cramming. The technology in education is merely an added source of learning whereas the primary system is the traditional educational teaching delivery. The classroom and traditional education are here to stay!

The technology in education is merely an added source of learning whereas the primary system is the traditional educational teaching delivery. The classroom and traditional education are here to stay!

Mayel Hadi has completed his graduation and masters in social work from Jamia Millia Islamia and the University of Delhi respectively. Although he started his career in a multinational corporate setup, he quickly realised his true calling towards the educational sector and went to pursue his higher education from Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. Post his education, he worked with various organisations in the education policy and delivery in Ireland and India.