[Answered] Although efforts have been made by parents, teachers and governments, learning at home through online education during the pandemic has been far from successful for children. Discuss.

Introduction: Contextual Introduction.

Body: Write down some initiatives taken by the government for the promotion of online education. Write down some of the challenges associated with online education in India.

Conclusion: way forward

Technology has become an integral part of our education system due to pandemic and with the introduction of new-age digital platforms. The use of computers and the internet form a major component of online learning but there is growing concern about the internet availability, speed and digital literacy as only 45% people use internet in the country.

Efforts:

  • SWAYAM: ‘Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds’ (SWAYAM) offers online courses and covers school (9th to 12th) to Post Graduate Level.
  • SWAYAM Prabha: SWAYAM Prabha provides 32 High Quality Educational Channels through DTH (Direct to Home). It has curriculum-based course content covering diverse disciplines.
  • National Digital Library (NDL): It develops a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility. The contents cover almost all major domains of education.
  • Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) portal: It is a storehouse of a large number of eBooks and e-Contents created by States/UTs and National level organizations.
  • PRAGYATA guidelines: It is useful for a diverse set of stakeholders including school heads, teachers, parents, teacher educators and students.
  • PM e-Vidya: There are 12 DTH channels, with one each dedicated to classes 1 to 12 for multi-mode access to digital/ online education.

However, despite these initiatives, there are certain challenges linked to online education.

  • Absence of formal learning: ASER 2020 and 2021 brought to light that even though over 70% of children in Classes IX to XII had a smartphone at home, only about 35% of them could use it for studies at all times, while 17% could not use it at all.
  • Digital access divide: Some remote areas and disadvantaged families do not have internet access or even electricity. Girls have inability to access online education either because of inadequate access to the internet and gadgets or because the male child and his teaching are prioritized.
  • Lack of infrastructure: institutional support barriers such as the budget for purchasing advanced technologies, lack of technical infrastructure etc.
  • Negative attitude of teachers: Due to digital illiteracy and reluctance to course integration with technology.
  • Need for self-discipline: Many students struggle with self-discipline in an educational classroom setting. It may feel like ‘merely watching a video’.

Online learning is part of a redefinition of how we transmit knowledge, skills, and values to younger generations. Thus, it should be enhanced and encouraged in a sustainable manner. The Centre must explore all options, such as the National Broadband Mission and service providers to connect schools, including all government institutions that are severely deprived.

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