Support For The New Form Of Education: Gadgetshala | Milaap
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Support For The New Form Of Education: Gadgetshala
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Need Rs.30,000
  • Sa

    Created by

    Shreyas aditya baksi
  • OE

    This fundraiser will benefit

    Online Education

    from New Delhi, Delhi

Story

The truth is, for many students, online learning is only a formality and not a real substitute for regular teaching. Some teachers only share material to students without teaching it. Online testing is sometimes based on the principle of “work it out yourself”. Students are not acquiring real, long-lasting knowledge. And some students don’t have the opportunity to leave their home during the two hours allowed during the curfew because they have to sit in online classes. Some students don’t even have proper equipment to attend online classes. They don’t have electronic devices such as computers, telephones and cameras. The number of these devices in households is often limited which can be very inconvenient for online appointments, classes, and meetings that take place simultaneously. Also, some teachers don’t consider the fact that during online testing, the student may lose the internet connection. Unfortunately, if this happens, the student gets graded based on the number of questions answered and recorded in the system before the connection was lost. Students also face problems managing their own time as a result of online teaching

During the pandemic, around 1.37 billion students in 138 countries worldwide and 32 million students in India were affected by school and university closures, according to UNESCO. The sudden nationwide lockdown made educational institutes opt for online education to continue with classes and ensure that there is no break in students learning. The closure of schools and universities has led to inequities in the Indian education system, with some students able to continue the learning process via online tools, while others being left out. The New Education Policy (NEP) which was approved by the government aims to bridge the digital divide in the country and ensure a wider reach of online education.

But the shift led to the digital divide in the country as many students were unable to attend the classes due to lack of facilities such as laptops and Internet service. Our education system was never very efficient even in the best of times. The COVID-19 pandemic has rendered it extremely biased and faulty.

After schools closed, hundreds of millions of students experienced a dramatic shift to distance learning, with physical classrooms replaced by radios, televisions, cellphones, and computers. The impact was more severe for disadvantaged children and their families. In India, where most people still live in rural areas, almost 70 per cent of children attend government schools. This resulted in an overwhelming need for affordable, reliable connectivity; adequate devices and software, accessible for children with different types of disabilities; and digital literacy training to use these technologies safely and confidently. Nationwide digital learning is practically impossible in such schools and comes with its opportunity costs. Technology literacy is a challenge that is confronting both parents and students across the country as most of them rely on basic phones. Children who were the least likely to have access were those from low-income families, marginalized communities, living in rural areas, with disabilities, or due to their gender which further widened the deep educational inequalities they already faced.

According to a 2020 Goldman Sachs report – India Internet: A Closer Look into the Future only 42% of all mobile phone owners in the country had a smartphone in FY2020. Mobile connectivity is another major issue, especially in the hinterlands. In some areas, mobile connectivity is barely enough to make calls. Poor internet connectivity, power supply, lack of smartphones and other gadgets hinder educational opportunities for the students in rural areas. The Niti Aayog, in its Strategy for New India@75 report, said 55,000 villages in the country did not have mobile network coverage
A robust strategy is needed to assess the levels of digitalization in school education, but the existing metrics and tools to measure levels of digitalization in a wide range of domains, including education suffer from several inadequacies. Therefore, an alternative strategy is needed to identify the key indicators of digitalization of education to develop an evaluative framework. For this purpose, the integration of information and communication technology (ICT) in education is a useful measure. ICT is one of the subjects taught in schools in India. In principle, ICT in education incorporates a variety of digital technologies and is an umbrella concept that covers a range of school-based activities.

Education should be at the core of all governments’ recovery plans: governments should both address the impact of the pandemic on children’s education and pre-existing problems. In light of profound financial pressures on national economies from the pandemic, governments should protect and prioritize funding for public education in general and reconsider the low priority—and chronic underfunding—so long given to providing education under emergency conditions.
Adopt measures to provide affordable, reliable, quality, and accessible internet, including targeted measures to provide free, equitable access to the internet for educational content, and capable devices for every student. Children most likely to be excluded or have inadequate access, including those from marginalized or vulnerable communities, living in rural areas, with disabilities, or living in families with multiple children, or due to their gender, should receive targeted support.

Provide supplementary funding for teachers and school officials in historically under-resourced areas and schools and school districts that have indicated the need for additional resources to contact their students, print materials for all, and distribute learning materials in more remote or rural areas, especially when this is the only medium to ensure children continue to engage in remote education.

Systemic solutions from the Ministry of Education and Science and the Bureau for Development of Education should develop a well-designed platform with a specific given curriculum, as well as a fair and effective way of assessment.
Vulnerable families should be supported so that they have the means to acquire equipment and skills to be able to support their children learn online.
Students and young people should be consulted. Future decisions should also take into consideration how students feel, their views, their conditions and needs. Students should have access to materials without feeling discriminated against, left to feel helpless when they have questions, or unheard when they have an opinion or request.

Develop or expand device affordability and availability initiatives for schools and families, with support targeted at the most vulnerable children, and develop and expand initiatives to secure and equitably distribute devices for learning to schools.

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