With the whole world shifting its gears online, education is one of the sectors that is making most out of this online transformation. In a matter of months, the repertoire of teaching and learning has been entirely overhauled.
While we go full-blown with online teaching, the question remains pertinent – Can online learning trump classroom learning?
We spoke to Dr. Skand Bali, Principal, The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, to give us the gound level insights on this topic.
Online learning is here to stay
Like it or not, “online” education is here to stay. But should it be the only form of education? – that’s the question. “I consider going online is a step forward for the education sector in our country; there is more dialogue around what’s good for the education sector – and that’s great. I would be really glad if we find a middle ground here when the conversation is about “online learning versus classroom learning”. I would neither want us to spring back to complete traditional learning nor change it to complete online learning. Modern education must be a blend of both,” says Dr. Skand Bali.
The matter of privileged and underprivileged
In a country like India, will online education reduce the gap between privileged and underprivileged or would it just go the other way round? Dr. Skand Bali shares, “I think the gap between haves and have-nots would actually reduce with the online education system. We have governments diligently working towards catering online education to the underprivileged. If these schemes, implemented properly, would make a huge difference in the Indian education sector.”
It is a known fact that generation Z is tied to its gadgets and with education going online, screen time-out might just become an illusion. However, it is all about finding balance and setting up your priorities, says Dr. Skand Bali, “Yes, the screen time is not good for the students – that is a given but set your priorities here. Parents should not choose to cut down on screen time at the cost of education. Cut down the gaming time, mobile time, and everything else that is not essential but make sure the children are getting their education. The whole point of conducting online classes is to ensure the momentum stays intact; once that’s lost, it is difficult to bring students back to the learning mode.”
What about the teachers?
We are talking about teachers who have been practicing the craft of teaching for decades now. The sudden shift to online and the need to familiarize themselves with technology must get overwhelming. Is the school management taking care of their teachers? “Of course, we do everything we can to support our teachers both mentally and emotionally. The Hyderabad Public School has given every teacher a subsidy of 25% on their laptop purchase, we do not force the teachers for their physical presence unless it is required, we counsel teachers to take care of each other in these stressful times – and these are just some of the many respites that we have offered,” explains Dr. Skand Bali.
Last but not least – the valuable student-teacher bond. It’s not just the students who would miss having the personal equation with the teachers but it holds the same for the teachers as well. “Well, the students could still experience that personal-connect since they see the teacher on their screens on a daily basis. But yes, the gap prevails. And we are not in the times to talk about the luxury of making bonds, are we? That being said, HPS does everything it can to ensure the time-to-time interaction between students and teachers with an increased number of activity classes, online PTMs, offline interactions, and more,” says Dr.Skand Bali.
So, the bottom line?
Must say, we are adapting pretty well to online learning. But, like any other initial stages of transformation, online learning has its own challenges to be conquered.
Let us end this article with a hope to triumph these challenging times and come upon the other side with the lessons well-learned.