7 PM Editorial |Online Education: The Ills Associated|23rd September 2020

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Online Education: The Ills Associated

Topic: GS-2, Governance

Sub-Topic – Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

Overview – The overemphasis on online mode of education and its ills.


For good education, one must lead the child’s current interests and abilities organically to logically organised human knowledge. Our education system has never been very efficient even in the best of times. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the existing problems have been exacerbated. Keeping this in mind, the NCERT has come up with Learning Enhancement Guidelines.

Learning Enhancement Guidelines: The NCERT declares in its Learning Enhancement Guidelines, or LEG that 60-70% students, teachers and parents consider learning satisfactory. However, its survey asks a single question on the feeling of students using the criteria of ‘joyful to burdensome’. The happiness or otherwise of the student while learning is, of course, important, but it says nothing about the quantum and depth of learning.
What are the issues that have been exacerbated?
  1. Exacerbation of Inequality
  2. The ills of online mode
Exacerbation of Inequality
  1. The migrants in the different cities had to walk back thousands of kilometres. Their children have been pushed to a comparative disadvantage because of lack of access to school as well as any form of teaching.
  2. The government began plans for students with no online access only by the end of August. These plans assume semi-literate or illiterate parents teaching children, community involvement, mobile pools, and so on. These are more absurd than any substantial improvement.
  3. Even many among those who have access to the internet have sub-par connectionsmeaning the provided content does not reach the students in entirety.
The ills of online mode
  1. In the videos provided by different governments, there are many issues. In the science and mathematics videos, in particular, there are many misconceptions and ambiguities. The emphasis is more on ‘tricks’ to remember for success in an examination than laying the stress on conceptual understanding.
  2. The Delhi Government uses videos by Khan Academy (a non profit organisation providing free education online) which is a reputed institution. However the quality has been questioned by many American Educators.
  3. There is a need for well connected and regular effortsto help children focus his attention. This goes missing in the online mode meaning the learning outcomes will be lower.

The Learning Enhancement Guidelines provided by the NCERT pushes for a reformation of school education towards online mode even if the pandemic will get over. It recommends using “alternative modes of education for the whole academic session including Internet-based, radio, podcast, community radio, IVRS, TV DTH Channels, etc.” This transformation of schools in the current understanding of pedagogy, suitability of learning material and quality of learning provided through IT will further devastate the already inadequate system of school education in the country. Of course, IT can be used in a balanced manner where it can help; but it should not be seen as a silver bullet to remedy all ills in the education system.


The importance of an institutional environment cannot be overemphasised when one thinks of online teaching. Even when the institutions function sub-optimally, students themselves create an environment that supports their growth morally, socially and intellectually in conversations and interactions with each other. The online mode of teaching completely forecloses this opportunity.

Source: The Hindu

Mains Question:
  1. Do you think that the push to online mode of education as outlined in the NCERT Learning Enhancement Guidelines justified? Also discuss the solutions that can make education inclusive.
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