Real Classroom vs Virtual Classroom

“India will be under complete lockdown for 21 days”, Modi ji said. The announcement made by Prime Minister at the outbreak of pandemic Covid-19, though imperative, impede the speed of fast emerging India. Exponentially increasing virus, not only swayed the economic sector but, badly affected academia all over the world.

Educationists straightened their back to bring the schools to home. Tsunami of virtual classes created the clamour in academe. Online platforms like Google meet; Zoom & Skype started earning profits with the blessing of Corona and rejoiced the needs of politicians.

Online classes are not new-fangled notion. Radio and TV have been the source of imparting education but the role of internet in this chain certainly cannot be avoided. Internet found to be seen as the life supporter in this period of lockdown especially in the field of education to ensure continued learning of students.

Virtual classes emerged as an alternative of real classroom situation to control the disruption caused by pandemic that was taking tumultuous form. But, can it be really seen as an alternative of real classroom in developing country like India?

As per the report of National Sample Survey Office, only 42% urban and 15% rural population have access to internet. More on that, only 35% urban and 11% rural folk use internet not more than one month. Hence, the thought of transmitting maximum information to maximum number of students is worth contemplating.

Schools are not mere institutions rather a scaffold providing stairs to poor students and help them acquire their dreams by making them recognize their potentials. Now, since they have no or limited access to internet, virtual class appear more like an agony to them.

Parents send children to school for their holistic development. They learn discipline, caring, sharing, democracy, secularism all at one place but this interval of online education have unexpectedly turned them into a well frog though virtually brought them science museum botanical garden etc. but certainly cannot replace their viewing things at first-hand experience.

It is arduous to concentrate on small screen of laptop or mobile phones when a student cannot continuously focus on a bigger class board. I had commonly heard complaints of headache and vision related problems due to the optimum use of mobile phones because they could not go to school , so schools were brought home in small screen that not only benefitted internet companies but opened up the room for private institutions to extract their tuition fees.

All institutions and agencies geared up to supply e-learning material for continued learning of students as this was the only option in this catastrophic period but reflected minimal on the preparation of text books and teachers who were not accustomed to this. Even the objectives were not made clear.

However, we should not forget that every coin has two aspects so is the case of e-learning and real classroom. Students can never reverse or forward the chapter in face-to-face interaction but, able to do so in the recorded one for his/her better comprehension. Moreover, he can review this at his suitable time.

Some subjects like Mathematics and Science, history, geography etc. are better taught online with better audio visual effects. Pupils are free to ask their queries without the feeling of peer pressure and competition. Students can conveniently check out many videos in respect of science, history and subjects like that.

Still, it would be too early to see e-learning the future of academia but, certainly can be viewed the panacea in the pandemic crisis.

What is New Education Policy in India

Why do we need education?

Education is a fundamental requirement for every person to develop their social, economic and political values. Quality education provides universal access and leadership on a global platform in terms of economic development, social justice and equality, scientific progress, national integration and cultural protection. Providing high quality education to the majority is the best way to develop and maximize the rich talents and resources of our country, which is inseparable from the good of society and the world. The Union Cabinet has approved the new National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, aimed at bringing many changes in the Indian education system from school to college level. The Cabinet has also approved the renaming of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to the Ministry of Education.

New education policy and its structure?

It is necessary to have a systematic method to providing an education to a large population and this method comes from implementing policies. Best Policies are the best way to formulate whole structure of the education from primary to higher to professional knowledge. Now, government introduces the new educational policy in 2020 with the new and beneficial changes for betterment of our better future. With ecosystem and employment changes it is becoming important that children not only learn but also know how to learn. Cram is not called education, rather it should be understood and introduced in your life and it will also improve your lifestyle. Education should be constructive, character building, rational and at the same time prepare them for gainful, fulfilling employment. This policy states that the existing 10 + 2 structure in schooling will be modified with a new reorganization of 5 + 3 + 3 + 4, covering ages 3–18 as shown in the representative figure is.

Main Highlights in NEP, 2020 at school level and higher level

Let’s have a look at the school level

  • Universal provision of quality of childhood development, care and education should thus be obtained as soon as possible by 2030 to ensure that all students entering grade 1 are ready for school.
  • Bringing 2 crore school children back to the mainstream through an open schooling system.
  • The current 10 + 2 system is to be replaced by a new 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 curriculum structure.
  • In Which 5 years devoted to foundation stage consists 3 years for pre-school or Anganwadi an 2 years for Ist and 2nd class. The purpose behind the 5-year foundation period is to strengthen the children’s base and creativity.
  •  The Preparatory Stage (Class 3-5, covering ages 8-11), The preparatory phase will include the creation, discovery and activity of three years of learning in the foundation phase and will begin with some formal yet interactive classroom learning aspects, along with some light text books, laying a solid groundwork across all subjects including reading, writing, speaking, physical education, art, language, science and mathematics.
  • The middle phase will include three years of education that will encourage experimental learning within each subject, and will emphasize the exploration of relationships between different disciplines and the introduction of more specialized disciplines, and will also include an Preparatory stage.
  • The secondary phase will include four years of multidisciplinary studies that are subject-oriented, but with greater depth, more critical thinking, more focus on life aspirations and more flexibility of subjects and student choice.
  • This will bring the unplanned age group of 3-6 years under the school curriculum, which has been globally recognized as a critical stage for the development of a child’s mental faculties.
  • All students are allowed to take the exam twice to make the board exams of class 10 and 12 easy.
  • School administration is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools.
  • By class 5, teaching should be at least in the mother tongue or regional language. No languages ​​will be imposed on any student.

At the school level

  • Gross enrolment ratio in higher education will be increased to 50% by 2035. In addition, 3.5 crore seats will be added to higher education. The current Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is 26.3%.
  • The overall undergraduate education with a flexible curriculum can be 3 or 4 years with multiple exit options and appropriate certification within this period.
  • M.Phil courses will be discontinued and all courses at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD level will now be interdisciplinary.
  • The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body to promote a strong research culture and build research capacity for higher education.
  • To establish Multidisciplinary Education and Research University (MERU), IIT, IIM, as the best multi-disciplinary education model of global standards in the country.
  • The Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) will be set up as a single umbrella body for the entire higher education except medical and legal education. Public and private higher education institutions will be governed by the same set of criteria for regulation, accreditation and educational standards. In addition, HECI will have four independent verticals namely National Higher Education Regulatory Council (NHERC) for regulation, General Education Council (GEC) for standard setting, Higher Education Grants Council (HEGC) for funding, National Accreditation Council (NAC) for accreditation.
  • The affiliation of colleges is to be phased out over 15 years and a phase-wise mechanism is to be established to provide graded autonomy to colleges.

Other amendments

  • The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF), an autonomous body, will be provided with a platform for the free exchange of ideas for the use of technology and higher education for assessment, planning and administration of learning.
  • The new National Evaluation Centre, PARAKH which can assist with evaluation processes as well as data analysis. Students from government and private schools will be included in the assessment.
  • Until the establishment of the proposed new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH, NCERT may continue to carry out NAS.
  • It aims to bring public investment in the education sector to 6% of GDP at the earliest.

Other Key areas of focus

  • Professional Education
  • Adult Education and Life Long Learning
  • Promotion of Indian Languages, Arts and Culture
  • Technology Use and Integration
  • Providing online and digital education to ensure equal use of technology.

Aim of the National Educational Policy 2020

The aim of NEP 2020 is to make “India a global knowledge superpower“. This National Education Policy 2020 is the first education policy of the 21st century and it aims to address many of the growing developmental imperatives of our country. The purpose of education in ancient India was not just the preparation for life in this world, or the acquisition of knowledge in the form of life beyond schooling, but for the complete attainment and liberation of oneself. Currently, children in the age group of 3-6 are not included in the 10 + 2 structure because class 1 starts at age 6. The new 5 + 3 + 3 + 4 structure also includes a strong base of early childhood care and education (ECCE from the age of 3), which aims to promote better overall education, development and well-being.

A New Education Policy aims to facilitate an inclusive, participatory and holistic approach which takes into consideration field experiences, empirical research, stakeholder feedback as well as lessons learned from best practices. This is a progressive change towards a more scientific approach towards education. The set structure will help to fulfill the child’s potential stages of cognitive development as well as social and physical awareness. If implemented in its true terms, the new structure could bring India on par with the world’s leading countries.