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IS COVID 19 THE GATEWAY FOR DIGITAL EDUCATION?

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”

— Arundhati Roy

The outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for the virus and ‘D’ for the disease. The COVID-19 virus is a new virus. The virus is primarily spread between people during close contact, most often via small droplets produced by coughing, sneezing, and talking. There is no currently available vaccine for COVID-19. Being declared a pandemic by the WHO, lockdowns have been imposed in almost all countries. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools, universities, and colleges.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/aa/COVID-19_school_closures.svg/450px-COVID-19_school_closures.svg.png

In the above fig:- 

Learners affected by school closures caused by COVID-19 as of 7 June 2020

  • Country-wide school closures 
  • Localized school closures
  • No school closures
  • No data
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IMAGES: STATISTA

 The concept of education changed overnight and in these times of crisis, digital learning has emerged as an indispensable resource for education. Digital technology is providing all sorts of remote learning opportunities for students across the globe and enabling teachers to create intriguing (virtual) experiences. 

Around the world, schools are leveraging existing platforms like Google classroom, Microsoft Education, and conferencing apps like Zoom. Similarly, ministries of education in dozens of countries are providing remote learning resources for students while schools are closed.

In India, where schools mostly focus on the face-to-face mode of learning, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, to promote digital learning has released a list of key Digital / E-learning platforms, covering both school and higher education in multiple subjects. Some of these engaging platforms include Diksha, having more than 80,000 e-Books for classes I to XII created by CBSE, NCERT, and States / UT, along with a mobile app available for the platform. Another such platform is e-Pathshala with a collection of around 1886 audios, 2000 videos, 696 e-Books, and 504 Flip Books for classes I to XII in different languages.

IFHE Hyderabad

IMAGE: THE HINDU

Worldwide countries are working to Plan and develop Digital and Online Learning to have flexibility about place and time. 

They are working to consider how particular learning technologies can be combined with changes in pedagogy and curriculum, particularly, to address the needs of vocational, lifelong learners, and their teachers. 

Also they are working to make more long-term, strategic investment in digital equipment, software, and connectivity for teaching and learning in and between schools, training centers, homes, and workplaces. This should address how these technologies connect, sustainability, and equity.

Schools and universities will need to expand and revise their curricula if they wish to educate students for a digital future that is inclusive, sustainable, and collaborative. 

Education for Generation Z is deeply intertwined with technology

Image: Global Indian International School

But E-learning presents IT barriers.

 E-learning is dependent on students having good access to the internet and computer facilities. A lack of facilities could make the process challenging. Around 62% of students say they would need their computer to engage with an eLearning package. The governments all over the world are continuously working to develop broadband networks to curb this barrier. The term broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.

The massive adoption of digital technology by public education systems, for years advocated by many, seems to have been achieved rapidly due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

SOURCES: WHO

Written By-Taniya Arora. She is pursuing BBA from Indira Gandhi Delhi Technical University for Women. She is an enthusiastic learner and an ardent researcher. 

Edited by-Shweta Mittal, Team SciComm

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