New Delhi, April 8
The transition to e-learning during India’s coronavirus-induced lockdown went rather smoothly, although uneven access to digital learning devices as well as lack of internet connectivity were major issues, according to the findings of a new report from Oxford University Press (OUP).
The pandemic has paved the way for a hybrid model in education, combining digital and traditional methods of teaching and learning, but governments must act to ensure that the progress of the past year is not lost, according to the report “Education: The Journey Towards a Digital Revolution”.
It gathered expert information from seven markets – India, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Pakistan, Spain and Turkey – as well as hundreds of teachers around the world, and extensive secondary research.
With the pandemic affecting more than 1.7 billion students worldwide in the past 12 months, the report analyzed how teachers, students and parents have adapted to new ways of delivering education, and will continue to use digital learning tools and resources to shape educational practice in the future.
“In India, compared to other countries, respondents rated the transition to e-learning as going quite well, with a score of 3.3 / 5. However, a major problem identified by respondents was uneven access to digital learning devices, as well as a lack of internet connectivity and low familiarity with the tools needed to facilitate online learning, ”the report states.
“The majority of respondents in India (71%) also felt that the switch to the Internet was detrimental to well-being. The government’s priority is to provide more funding, as well as to address connectivity issues, especially in rural areas, ”he said.
The top three issues identified as negatively impacting digital learning were: socio-economic barriers, lack of professional development opportunities for teachers, and disruption or uncertainty in daily life caused by the pandemic.
When asked what steps the government should take to support digital learning, respondents asked for help with improving connectivity, increased funding for technology, and more professional development opportunities for teachers.
Speaking about the research, OUP CEO Nigel Portwood said the pandemic has, unsurprisingly, caused a rapid increase in digital learning adoption.
“As we begin to re-imagine what education might look like in the future, it is imperative that governments learn from those who have been on the front lines, providing and receiving the learning. We have a huge opportunity to learn from all our experience to develop education systems that will work for both local and global society, ”he said. PTI