In India, for the last several years we are preparing for digital learning aiming to cover all urban locale and rural aloof. The COVID-19 situation has made it urgent, we are moving from the planning phase to the implementation phase, but the thing is how much we are successful in executing digital learning. Due to nationwide lockdown, everything is in halt, a major loss is facing by students in terms of their study. Incomplete syllabus, cancellation of exams, absenteeism is creating a lethargic and mind-numbing atmosphere among students across the country. Countless entrance exams are standstill and planning to perform on guidelines of social distancing in the coming months. Nobody wants to compromise with students’ future henceforth, organizing webinars, online conferences, virtual classes at higher education level, and senior secondary level. One more time digital India is a talk of the nation. But the only thing which is left behind is the accessibility of the internet by students. Most of the students vested in urban and semi-urban areas are well-equipped with smartphones, laptops, computers with good internet connectivity, but what about those who do not even have electronic devices as well as no internet connectivity.
Yes, I am talking about the one residing in extreme rural regions and the one who cannot afford it.
How these students can cover-up?
How can they be a part of a race?
Who will be accountable for their losses?
Though we all know that verbal face to face two-way communication between teachers and students is of prime importance, it enhances the learning and understanding power of students, but digital learning can also be a good educational platform in varied circumstances like distance learning, learning in a situational crisis like Covid-19. Teachers are also taking time to adjust in the sudden switch of the alternative educational platform due to Covid-19, nowadays they have to rely on various digital applications like Zoom, Google meets, Microsoft team, etc. for conducting classes. These apps are new to them, even though they are really working hard, understanding its features in order to cover the syllabus on time.
But before implementing the modern educational platform, i.e. digital learning, the authority must analyze the ground situation and act accordingly. In my point of view, there should be a holistic approach while implementing digital learning, each and every section of society must be equally benefited. Internet connectivity must be strengthened up all across the three tiers of the country. Every street, villages must be flourished with free internet connectivity. Every school, colleges, and universities must be well-equipped with computers, laptops, smart classrooms, with proper internet facility. Students below the poverty line, who enrolled themselves in technical and vocational courses should be provided with free laptops and smartphones by the government. Teachers must be undergone with digital training provided by the government for teaching, evaluation, and admission purpose. The higher educational authority should ensure that internet connectivity remains sustainable at schools and universities. School authority must be answerable for any interruptions in connectivity at their ends. The only way to make India, the fully ‘digital India’ is to begin from the grass-root level, i.e. connectivity of remote areas to the urban locale through the internet, for this bottom-up approach is required to address every section of the society. To complement the traditional education system, digital platform undeniably needs of the hour.