Srinagar, Jan 30: The unexpected ongoing pandemic has halted every sector and forced people to take alternatives to keep the working cycle going. The education sector which was the primary casualty has found a workaround to cope with the crisis; the online education model has proved effective and hence it has been introduced throughout.
The school department here facilitated the change and helped students and parents to accept this mode of learning. To make it more effective, the School Education Department with time has come up with a mechanism to facilitate quality education.
As it is said, everything has two sides. So is the case with this mode of learning, it has some drawbacks for sure but to overcome those negative aspects. One such negative aspect is the reach of online education to every student.
The School Education Department has rolled out Learning Management System (LMS) through a digital platform to connect students with teachers for online classes.
However, the parents also believe that besides offline education, the authorities should simultaneously focus on improving the online mode of education.
One of the parents, Bashir Ahmad said, “Being a parent, I must say that the online education especially in the time of pandemic has helped my daughter to cope-up with the learning losses.”
He said, “It would not be appropriate to say that online education has fully covered the learning gaps, but to a very greater extent, it has filled the gaps.”
Another parent said, “This is the peak time to upgrade our education system. Authorities at this time shall ensure that the way it is upgrading the infrastructure and quality of education for offline classes, similar efforts shall be made to upgrade the online mode of education by installing ICT labs, smart classrooms and developing new websites.”
LMS initiative of DSEK:
School-Teacher-Student linking: Among the salient features, the School Education Department has said that there should be a facility of registration of Schools on the System and all Teachers can be added to registered Schools with the specific objective that the teacher is teaching his or her subject
Teaching-Learning through Assignments, PPTS, Chats, Texts and videos: The online Teaching-Learning should be through the medium of Assignments, PPTS, Chats, Texts and videos, Also there should be the content uploading and sharing by the teachers with the students of their school.
The system should be accessed by a controlled mechanism. The teacher can afterwards login into the system and upload e-content, Assignments and the link to video lectures. The Student can access the material and watch the video on the portal after logging in to the system.
Provision of Study Material: The study material should be provided to the students and the use of the material must be tracked. Video lectures should also be uploaded to Online Student Assessment.
Multi-tier monitoring of online Teaching-Learning: There should be monitoring of online classes at the level of DSEK, SCERT, DIETS, CEO, ZEOS, DRGS, ZRGS and HoIs. This way the activity of all the schools and teachers should be directly monitored by all these institutes by logging into the system.
The statistics of all the different types of content uploaded by any teacher or the school should be directly visible on the dashboard at all the monitoring levels.
Conduct of Online Assessment of the child: There should be a facility of online periodical assessment of the child which can be conducted through this platform for tracking child performance during online classes during the lockdown period.
Nayeem Ahmad Bhat
One of the government teachers Nayeem Ahmad Bhat says that online education is the future. “Through virtual classes or teaching, it is way easier to learn by removing the physical necessities of an individual when acquiring education,” he said.
Bhat said that this is the fact that traditional education has met a radical change within the last couple of years. “Being physically present in a classroom can't cope with the current problems and the era demands quality education as long as learners get online education.”
Stating the reasons as to why online education was the future, Bhat says online learning is a way out.
“The use of online learning is the safest way of learning because it requires a laptop or smartphone and internet access. No physical conduct is required as the world is battling with the multifaceted virus, Corona, Omicron etc and health experts has also advised the world to avoid the spread of coronavirus and social distance must be maintained,” he said.
Bhat says that online teaching makes learning easier. “Just a click on a button has wiped away the complexity of traditional learning. Through the online system, learning comprises of virtual classes, online registration, results and e-library which are easy to access.”
Another government teacher, Arif Hussain says, “Gradually as our economy is growing, the Information Communication Technology (ICT) and its tools are being used in every field.”
“The mere usage does not make us effective and efficient unless we have a proper implementation of the ICT so there is a need for monitoring of the ICT implementation and measuring the deviation if any to take corrective measures,” Hussain said.
“The need of the hour is also to make investments in the Education sector to upgrade the schools at least having one ICT or Computer Aided Learning (CAL) labs.
He says that the importance of the training and their continuity should be made a norm to be competitive and updated with the trend.
“The comprehensive and flexible curriculum has to be developed which can be helpful even in the emergency like situations,” Hussain said.
He said that these models would help us to point out the gaps in which we have to improve thus be a potential guide also.
Arshad Ahmad Khan
Likewise, another teacher Arsheed Ahmad Khan says that the concept of traditional education has changed radically within the last couple of years.
“Being physically present in a classroom isn’t the only learning option anymore—not with the rise of the internet and new technologies, at least. Nowadays, you have access to a quality education whenever and wherever you want, as long as you can get online. We are now entering a new era—the revolution of online education,” he said.
Khan said that there is no need to discount the scepticism surrounding education through the internet. “It is hard to understand the notion of leaving behind the conventional classroom, especially if it is to face this vast space called The Internet.”
“However, that is not a reason enough to shy away from this alternative, which has proven to be valid and useful for many students. According to the most recent survey from Babson Survey Research Group, over 30 per cent of higher education students in the United States are taking at least one distance course. Online education is a sensible choice whether you are a teenager or an adult. As a student, this can be a useful learning method for sharpening your skills in a difficult subject, or learning a new skill.” Khan said.
Bashir Ahmad Dar, a former Secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (BOSE) said, “As a matter of fact when you see the prevailing conditions of COVID-19 and then try to find out the alternative for the education of children, online education is the only mode now where we can keep the students connected with the curriculum and syllabi.”
He said it would not be appropriate to say as to whether students will learn anything from the online classes but says that this would last they will remain connected with curriculum and syllabi.
Dar also said that over some time, the students couldn’t rehearse or be in touch in actual physical classes, “There has been a big learning loss as the students have forgotten what they have learnt in previous academic years.”
“To conduct the online or open-book examinations, the education sector needs to have an expert,” he said.
Dar further said, “In Kashmir, we have not trained our teachers to conduct the open-book or online examinations which fall under the essential component to deal with the ongoing education loopholes.”
“Stating the status of virtual classes, Dar said, there are several difficulties which a student is confronting,” he said.
Dar said, “The first difficulty which a student is facing is lack of smartphones and other electronic gadgets or a tool that gives students access to online education and exams.”
Lamenting on the issue of online classes, Dar also said, “In most of the cases of minor students, they don’t have their smart-phones and have to seek access to the online education from their parent's phones that means not only students are facing the bashing of online education but parents too have to bear it.”
“Dar said that it was difficult for the minor students to concentrate on online classes for more than 30-40 minutes,” Dar said.
He said that the children are usually playing with several things simultaneously at home and it is very difficult for them to concentrate on online classes for a long time.
“Using electronic gadgets for a long duration to conduct educational activities besides watching the digital staff affects the eyesight of the students.
Dar opines that the government should adopt a type of small community schooling at all places, wherein a small group of students could gather and have physical classes and in case of the students who can use gadgets, the respective school authorities can provide them study materials in Compact Discs. (CD).
“About the children who have the access to online mode of education, it requires a committee of experts to utilize the shifting content given to the students,” he said.