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BUILDING BACK TO AVERT A LEARNING CATASTROPHE: ONLINE VS PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Author: Shalini Jha, III year of B.A.,LL.B. from School of Law,KIIT Deemed to be University,Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Co-author: Shubham Kumar, II year of B.B.A.,LL.B. from School of Law,KIIT Deemed to be University,Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India


ABSTRACT

The main objective of this paper is to make a comparison between online and physical classes for students. The second section of the paper talks about schoolome learning and learning recovery during the post-lockdown period. There is nothing that can compare learning in the physical classroom involving interaction of teachers and students. It is the conventional complement of physical learning. In physical learning technical issue is not a problem it gives pupils a great opportunity to create and follow a rigid schedule. It helps the student to solve their confusion on any topic. It also improves their capacity for teamwork and building their skills. Students can share views and solicit input from others while brainstorming together.


In virtual education, there are various cons in which they are unable to converse with others or engage in an open discussion like in the physical learning classroom. The greatest use of technology is to increase the quality of education given to children. The last section of this paper aims to highlight statistical data about college and school dropouts as well as post-pandemic students' involvement in classes.

KEYWORDS: education, learning, pandemic, schoolome, virtual learning


INTRODUCTION

Earlier back in the 1900s, education was the exclusive responsibility of the states. Nowadays Central government plays an important role in evolving and monitoring all educational policies and programs. One of the highly complex and fragmented systems is Indian higher education. People around the world have had an incredibly terrible time due to the corona virus pandemic. For the students of India, the effects of COVID-19 were disastrous, especially in terms of educational opportunities. Resuming offline classes after two years of lockdown, students lacked concentration level and energy. In some schools where children come from the least privileged background, they are dropping out of school. The prolonged closure of online classes for them meant a prolonged break from learning to lead to dropout.


VIRTUAL EDUCATION

Virtual education supports the student in choosing their own study pace and in their comfort area. It offers a great chance for those students who are yet to enroll in regular classroom settings. In virtual education, the student can complete their work, and assignments at any time, and additionally they can access the class from any place with a reliable internet service network. In virtual education, less material is needed as more of us have access to e-books which is less expensive than buying hard copy books for offline classes.


In India, we have a lot of motivated teachers who can contribute to the learning process of students through different methods. Innovative methods should be brought up for the students for their better understanding of concepts. Participation in civil society organizations can also work while exploring the field of education. Reassurance of challenges in school education should be there by the state government. National Education Policy 2020 has made out some recommendations concerning pandemic challenges. Learning does not happen within the four walls of a classroom.


LEARNING RECOVERY

The discourse and unanswered question of whether to move to hybrid classes or not is a bigger distraction in school education. It is high time that we start planning and ensure learning recovery. The Education Department in every state should ensure that students don't drop out of schools during this lockdown period. Special attention should be given to those who don't have many privileges to access digital classes. Pandemic-related enrolment inequities should be tackled by giving special attention to those children who are eligible for nursery or classes one and two. There has been a learning loss for the students over the past two years. The state government should give priority to the learning recovery of the students. The strategy should be made important for the assessment of learning recovery.


Some of the major steps which would be taken for the acceleration of fresh operational strategies in the education sector are:-

1. Additional government investment

2. Increasing financial allocation for education by combining both union and state government.

3. Due to the pandemic period, mental health issues developed in school-age children. Mental health counseling services should be given to the students. Regular health checkups should be maintained.


MIDDAY MEALS

12 crore children's nutritional status is dependent on school meals in India.[i] Disruption in the supply of midday meals means a lack of sufficient nutrition for all these students. Teaching time should be increased and the curriculum should be reconsidered. In Delhi government schools, mentor teachers have been initiated and it has proved that with the potential of teachers anything can be achieved for the students.


SCHOOLOME LEARNING

Schoolome learning involves a learning approach that includes physical as well as digital which is a way forward for education. Digital native is not excited by traditional classrooms', long PDF-based content or video-recorded sessions. Moving on with the pandemic advent learning through smart phones laptops or any other devices has become accepted. A physical approach results from the combination of interaction between teachers and students. Teachers are not trained to handle the students in online mode. Teachers focus on 21st-century skills. Learning stimulates students' minds at home. This is what is called Schoolome learning. Ramaswamy says that the key is to facilitate access to physical devices and centers. To take hands-on training or learn something that can't be learned online, teachers should reach out to students with innovative ways to impart lessons to students through AR and VR.


Some of the challenges for the students while digital learning work are:-

1. Equitable access to technology

2. Socio-economic background

3. Strong internet connection.

It would take many more months before the medium and long-term impact of school closure is fully comprehended.


STATISTICAL ANALYSIS

The state of the Global education crisis a part of recovery released in December 2021 estimated that in the first 21 months of the pandemic, schools throughout the world were closed partially or fully for an average of 224 days. Schools in India were closed for physical classes for around 570 to 600 days. After the pandemic gets over the majority of students nearly 54.5%of students believed that regular classroom instruction is the preferable choice for their education. However, 28.1% of students stated that they choose a mixed approach that includes both traditional and online instruction. Just 17.4% of the students chose online learning as the best option for their future education. However, as a result of the lockdown in 2020, the literacy rate decreased by 2% is 77.7 %.


SCHOOLS AND INSTITUTIONS DROPOUT

Many children were forced to drop out of school because of the COVID-19 upsurge where families lost their sole means of sustenance. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and the State government[ii] collected the statistics on COVID children, and orphans who dropped out of school. The education department should verify the details to ensure that dropouts due to adverse effects of COVID would not continue. Student dropout rate generally increased during covid-19.


In a recent study, the annual survey ASER (Annual Status of Education Report), which aims to provide accurate annual estimates of children's schooling status and basic learning levels for each state and rural district in India, found that many young children have not yet started attending school and that there has been a sharp increase in the number of dropout-of-school children in the 6–10 age group. This increased from 1.8 percent in 2018 to 5.3 percent in 2020-21, and it increased from 4 percent to 5.5 percent among all children under the age of 16 as well. According to reports, the shutdown of schools at the height of the pandemic reportedly had an impact on 24.7 crore students. Many students have been severely affected especially rural place students due to a lack of financial situation which made them drop out of their schools/college. The annual dropout rate for secondary school students was 14.6 percent, according to the 2020–21 report from Unified District Information System for Education Plus.


A survey has been conducted by KVS and NVS in states/UT toward continuing learning during the pandemic and they have found that 7.47% don’t have access to devices and they don’t have any access to studying which made them drop out from school. 38% of households said that nearly one of their children has to drop out from an institution during covid-19. In Jharkhand 6.2 lakh student got dropout compared to 5.5 lakh in UP, in Rajasthan, there is 1.8 lakh student who drop out. There are currently 86094 and 68256 students who drop out from Assam and Bihar.


While Odisha has the highest total dropout rate at 22.5. While Nagaland's dropout rate is 16% while Ladakh scored at 18%. According to experts, no dropouts will get doubled whereas marginalized groups will be severely affected even more will be impacted, girls. They will lose 50% of the entire no of years in school.


USE OF TECHNOLOGY

The majority of schools, colleges, and universities as well as the government have supported the use of technology in digital classrooms. Getting an education in the form of digital classrooms makes learning more interesting and beneficial. It also creates a learning environment in a major way. The teacher or the professor can teach the same concept in various methods and can explain topics in a virtual mode with the help of digital classroom technology.


This approach also promotes greater involvement because online classes can make a challenging subject more engaging for the students. With the aid of improving the technique of teaching, students are interested in the subject and they comprehend them better.


In the future, digital classrooms can even help teachers to learn and improve their teaching techniques and methods. The digital classrooms will also help in saving time for making grading tools resulting in more accurate reports and saving additional time. In the future, young brains would choose digital classrooms as their environment as they would prefer it more than traditional classrooms. There are some areas where practical knowledge is needed too .The future of education could be greatly influenced by the digital classroom.


PHYSICAL CLASSROOM AS TRADITIONAL TEACHING

Education institutions charge a very high amount for physical learning classrooms. Due to this method, students might be unable to have a chance to learn about developing technologies. Students face issues if they are unable to attend classes, as in physical learning, no recorded classes will be provided to them. It is dangerous to travel especially when the covid-19 epidemic is widespread. Additionally, it would increase the children’s risk of developing serious illnesses. It would be problematic for those who have physical limitations. Hence, one of the key differences between virtual education and physical learning is the latter's reduced flexibility.


REGULATION AND ACCESSIBILITY

During the covid-19 lockdown period, the students of Government schools hardly got any access to smart phones or networks. For the students of private schools, it was quite easier and they merely shifted from offline to online mode. One of the most challenging tasks for the teachers is to trace the lost children and bring them back to the world of learning and education. The pandemic has emerged as the biggest destruction in the field of education. Self-learning requires a high level of time management and self-discipline. Students have to stay focused without losing confidence, especially for long-term courses. Regulation is paramount for academic institutions and ed-tech firms in being partners. Since online learning will be a part of future education experiences, the continuation of digital learning depends upon the teaching methods, resources, and accessibility of these devices.


CONCLUSION

They become less social as they work with their team on the online platform. As a result, they do not have abilities that include leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. In virtual education, the student is excluded from their extracurricular events like classroom games, and in-person presentations. In the virtual form of education, some people face serious problems as they lack motivation and are not able to do work alone rather than in teams. Phygital learning adoption can help to scale up the learning process bringing up solutions to the challenges of inclusivity.

[i] www.thehindu.com [ii] www.timesofindia.com