In the recent times, particularly with the rise of COVID-19 pandemic in the world, one of the most suffering section of the society are the students. In this age of social distancing when students can’t visit physical classrooms to attend classes or to sit for examinations, the trend of conducting exams and classes online has risen very drastically. The educational institutions along with the govt. are emphasizing on online education, but does India have enough infrastructure to make online education fair and available for everyone?
Let us dive into some issues,
With a population of about 1.38 billion, only 627 million of the population has access to the internet according to a survey done in 2019. India has a student population of around 315 million ( highest in the world). Since around 67% of Indian population is from rural areas, if we consider roughly around 50% of the total students come from rural areas, these students most probably do not have access to a stable internet connection or might not also have their own smartphones. Moreover, we must also not ignore the fact that the internet has its own evils. There is a high chance that adolescent students might fall under the trap of indecent activities over the internet if they have unrestricted access to the internet. Regarding online exams, there have been instances reported about servers crashing, time management, etc. However we can also not ignore the fact of the electricity problem in the country, although 99% of India but there is a notable problem of electricity cutoffs in rural as well as urban areas such as Guwahati.
Now, let’s look into some of the merits and demerits of online education:
● Social distancing can be maintained.
● Students will have access to a vast source of knowledge over the internet.
● Student will become more technology friendly
● Students can study in the comfort of their homes.
● No proper monitoring of students as they might be having working parents.
● Lesser social interaction for students, which may affect their personalities in the future and may hinder their development of social skills.
● In a country where children don’t go to school because they can’t pay fees, how can we expect the poor sects of the society to get a smartphone along with a 4g internet connection, and bear the expenses of the schools because institutions are not exempting the
students of fees.
● Interruptions may arise during the classes to fluctuating internet speeds.
● we can obviously not ignore the adverse effects the electronic media, the harmful rays coming of the screen, and its adverse effect on the health of a child.
● First and foremost the govt. should form a committee under the MHRD / ministry of education which will particularly look after the issues faced by students while studying online.
● The govt. can launch an interactive app of their own like google meet, zoom app, etc. this will also promote the “ local for vocal” campaign as well as help in raising revenues.
● The govt. and NGOs should come together to provide smartphones to students below the poverty line along with access to the internet for at least a year. To ensure internet safety this smartphone can be programmed to have access to the websites or apps recommended by the govt.
● The network issues should be solved so that at least the ones with an internet connection can study seamlessly.
● The govt. must set a limit for schools and colleges to conduct classes online, because sitting in front of a computer screen or mobile screen can adversely affect their eyes and health.

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