Online Education- A big challenge for teachers
By: Er. Ishfaq Khaliq
School is a place of knowledge children experience and it is this ambiance that gives them a chance to acquire various aspects of information besides initiating a healthy thought process and grooming the cognitive abilities. In the present competitive world, education is a basic necessity after food, clothing and shelter and the process of education involves the mental, social, physical as well as economic aspect and ultimately forms the foundation of any society as the graph of the growth of a given society depends upon the quality of education being imparted. So, schools play an important role in molding a nation’s future by facilitating the all-around development of its future citizens.
With the COVID-19 spreading across the globe, many countries have ordered the closure of all educational institutes and thus temporarily shutting our schools and switching to online, internet oriented education system. It is a necessity and one cannot challenge such a move given the magnitude of the health crisis and the only way to continue the process of educate for a child in these difficult times is online classes. Same is the case with Kashmir where children are confines to their homes and teachers are making tireless efforts to continue the process of education through the online education system. Even if a large number of students as well as parents and teachers aren’t really satisfied with the system, but it is the need of the hour and cannot be blamed on any administration or government.
The situation, however, has made it clear that changes must be made in teachers training in the future and there must be a proper system of structured measures to handle the online system of education. There must also be programmes to acquaint the students with the new system as well and then only one can assume that switching to online education can yield any fruits. It is a must that the teaching methodologies and the use of technologies in place of face-to-face teaching is fully explained to all the parties in the process and even parents might also need guidance in this matter.
In a place like Jammu and Kashmir were we have only 16 per cent of our teachers from govt schools trained enough to deliver online classes, it is a big question as to how we can make this system productive. Moreover, teachers also need time to learn, not just teach. This is evident these days for those teachers who do not master the digital equipments and are finding it much more difficult to teach students online. We have the best and quality material to educate our children on the internet but how to use it properly is the big question.
About the preparedness, designing and effectiveness of e-learning, we still don’t clearly understand the situation and need a lot of clarifications and support. Kashmir, were the technical constraints including suitability of devices, internet connections and bandwidth availability pose a serious challenge, we have to underscore the drawbacks of this switch over and appeal our administration to understand the dilemma of the students as well as teachers alike. Besides this, we also have to understand that there is a substantial portion of population that doesn’t enjoy an economic stature like others and cannot afford smart gadgets to participate and be at par with other children. No matter how simply we are using technology to deliver online classes still some of the children will remain left out during critical situations due to multiple causes such as poverty, migration, family problems etc.
The education system is destined to face an array of issues post-Covid ranging from a new burden on Government schools due to the influx of students from low fee private schools as many of them will no longer be able to afford to pay for education due to financial constraints. Those students who have facilities to attend online classes face barriers in terms of unavailability of physical space, which is equally applicable to teachers who are supposed to conduct online classes from their homes. There are also social barriers such as discrimination against girls as they are expected to do household chores instead of attending online classes in the mornings. In rural areas, boys are often expected to work on the family farmlands. All these, and many more hardships are going to affect children immensely.
But, despite all the challenges educational stalwarts in J&K have to stay much more ahead and reach every student to deliver quality education so that our children do not suffer in future. This will need tireless efforts from the teacher and the support structure- are we up for it?
The writer is Sr. Engineer at Al-NOOR AGRIFRESH PVT. LTD