According to the government, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) conducted a rapid survey with the aim to analyze the pros and cons of online and digital learning, and to assess the readiness of stakeholders to embrace the new opportunities and face the challenges while working in the new normal.

This, according to information divulged by the government, comprised of three questionnaires one each for students, parents and teachers.

Regarding effectiveness of online mode, described as new normal in education, over traditional mode (face to face) as indicated by survey, this rapid survey revealed that 56 % teachers felt online classes have increased students’ participation and teacher support during the pandemic times, and it provides flexibility in designing learning situations (49.2%), convenience in terms of time and space (47.3%) and, cost effective mode (22.9%) of teaching learning.

Other the other hand, 34% parents, not agreeing fully with the teachers’ opinion,  opined that children ‘learn less in online and digital education’, while 28.6% were of the view that it is convenient to attend online classes and 22.4% thought children learn at their own-pace during online classes.

Class 6 to 12 students (41.8%) found online classes were ‘interesting’. As per the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021, about 72% of sampled children had access to digital devices at home. 45% of the sampled children found learning to be joyful during pandemic and about 38% faced difficulty in learning.

According to the central government, BharatNet project by the Department of Telecommunications is to create a network to connect Gram Panchayats (GPs), villages across the country with broadband in a phased manner. This infrastructure is leased to Telecom Service Providers, Internet Service Providers for providing Internet connectivity in GPs and rural areas, including villages, government institutions, schools and private areas.

The content of all government sites and schemes remains primarily the NCERT-issued Alternative Academic Calendar, videos of teaching, digital editions of textbooks, and links to other such material.

There are three important issues in online education and schemes that need serious consideration. One, an exacerbation of inequality; two, the pedagogical issues leading to bad quality education; and three, an unwarranted thrust on online education.

The government needs to improve connectivity across the length and breadth so that listening to lectures on the mobile phone, frequent disconnections and/or having blurred video or audio is not faced by the students. The authorities must keep addressing the e-learning means. 

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