Covid-19 has restricted us all from going out making it difficult to go on with our studies too.As suggested, most of the educational institutions are focusing on online learning. The idea of work from home or online education seems really comforting, until we get hit by reality. Online education might be a great way out for a lot of students right now, but there are still a majority of students who don’t have access to internet or even a smartphone. This could sound unrealistic to the privileged masses but the real truth is that access to online education is still a distant dream for a majority of students in India. And, here we are presenting to you some concrete reasons for this.
Even after the promotion of ‘Digital India’ in the year 2015, we are still lagging behind in creating and maintaining proper networking infrastructure which will be able to connect each and every one of us through various communication mediums. Most of the people face network issues even during telephonic communication, let alone the lousy situation of internet.
STILL TOO COSTLY
Various internet service providers have good rates, but the ones students need for a proper class through video conferencing and to frequently download resources everyday usually ranges between 300-400 rupees per month. How many people can actually afford it for a long time basis?
LACK OF QUALITY RESOURSES
Due to the suddenness of the lockdown, most of the students left their books and notes in their hostels. Most of the notes and study material found in the internet lack credibility and ones which are original are to be bought with really high prices. Even if a student gets study material online, there’s no way of its quality assurance and they are definitely inferior to self-made notes.
Society has associated stigma to online studies and the degrees which are obtained through online courses. Many people regard such degrees or courses as “inferior” or “less certified” to the regular classroom learning. Imagine how can we achieve our goal of digital revolution with such stigmatisation of online learning process.
LACK OF TECHNICAL EXPERTISE
Another problem is that, not everyone is good with technology, so technical glitches act as a distraction from studies and makes it difficult to focus. Sometimes figuring out a new app or website is difficult for people and in such cases, student end up wasting more time just figuring things out than actually studying.
Everyone has equal right to education but does everyone has equal access to internet? No, we live in a country where a lot of people are still struggling to get minimum wage or even to get basic necessities for their livelihood; we cannot ensure equal internet accessibility to every citizen as of yet. In this scenario, how can we ensure equal right to education, if the whole education process is online.
These are just a few reasons to understand how difficult is the path of digitalisation of the whole educational process. We need to understand that online education is still not a perfect substitute for classroom education, but it still has that potential in future, only with great developmental strategies.
These are the problems we all are facing, but if we look from our point of view, we can add a million more reasons how all this is much more difficult to get habitual to for our blind masses. All this is completely new to them and even the minor problems aggravate as it is far away from their normal work routines. We, at ITVI are doing our best to provide quality resources, guidance, and classes to our visually impaired companions with the help of experienced teachers. What we want from you is to support our cause and come forward to help someone in need in your own, unique way by keeping in mind what Mark Twain said, “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”.
Saumya Rani ( Team ITVI )