Education in the age of Internet

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By: Mohammad Shoaib

There has all along been an increasing tendency among the scholars to glorify the progress or development of the education sector in India on the basis of numbers. They say the system has developed extraordinarily by presenting the quantitative representation of educational institutions in India since Independence. However, they fail to underline the scenario of a defunct and derailed education system, which in a way lacks quality and efficiency.

Enhancing quality instead of quantity is need of the hour. To augment quality is a process, and one needs to understand it suitably. Extension of current facilities, the inclusion of new topics in syllabus, and vividness are imperative for enhancing quality education. You can’t have quality education without a holistic approach (V. Prakash Mishra). The right to education is good, but what India needs is the right to quality education (ibid).

Lack of due education policy has resulted in apathy in our educational institutions. There was a time when Allahabad University was known as the Oxford of the East. Delhi University was renowned for its classicism and JNU for its progressive values.

The commercialization of education has set us a generation of semi-literate teachers and youngsters instead of well-trained professionals. The real characteristics of real educational development are almost missing, talent and efficacy are neglected, and students are compelled for rote learning rather than truly understanding a topic and griping the quintessence of that in such a way that they will probably never forget. Implementation of legal and structural changes needs to be inserted. A separate Indian education services cadre at different levels, within the civil services, should be created.

We ignore to bring into fore these essentials while defining the progress of education. Without quality, the development of education has no meaning.    

Reputation and excellence of institutions can be gained by advocating the novel CTS, CIA, virtual learning, etc. But all these viable designs need to be implemented in reality. Through regular evaluations we can assess the progress of learning and it could be made visible widely. The education system should be promoted to a student progress tracking system which will track the learning levels of students and provide investigative data to serve as a basis for improvement to educational institutions and teachers.

We need to shift towards blended learning, which includes flipped classroom, live virtual training, and rotational learning. It provides flexibility in learning for both students and teachers. It also consists of diverse teaching methods to transfer knowledge most productively. The merger of conventional classroom education and computer-based or online learning is considered to be the essence of blended learning. Instructor and learners maintain connections beyond official class time (S. Rashid).

Online learning can be a preferable tool for learning during emergencies also, but can’t be effective in totality because of inherent technology glitches. Online learners are susceptible to technological failures and inbuilt constraints of many sorts. Unlike brick and mortar model students are not under the constant supervision and overseeing of a teacher. By adopting ICT driven models students will surely miss out the face to face interactions. It will also suffer classroom discussion and personal interaction which otherwise is very important for the socialization of students.

Virtual learning won’t prepare the students to face the challenges of mundane life. It will also go against Bloom’s taxonomy affective and psychomotor domain. Using different models which purport to learn in absentia may surface other problems for students like they won’t be able to develop their social and academic skills to succeed at the next level. The genuineness of a particular student’s work is also a problem as online just about anyone can do a project rather than the actual student itself and in it the completion rate of the study gets low. Nevertheless, it can be used to provide high-quality training for teachers working on all-levels. It can be used here as a tool to provide many such training courses on an on-demand basis.

(Author is Executive officer at DPL, Anantnag)

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