Published: 26th May 2020
Beyond corona: Will e-teaching become a part of the Indian educational system?
There is already a brewing revolt against online e-teaching with several teachers in Karnataka revolting against bullying by parents who get involved in their children’s e-classes
The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), 16th US President
The Greek philosopher Aristotle said, "The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet." On the same subject, Albert Einstein said, "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education."
Discerning readers will observe that the three quotes above, stretching across 22 centuries, never spoke of education in terms of competing with fellow students, scoring high, reaching for success and attaining wealth and fame — which are the aims and focus of education today. These days, the education system has been shaken violently by the ever-expanding COVID-19 pandemic which has confined students to their houses. One must understand that students of elite schools are possibly suffering the most. A cocktail of teaching, including modern technology such as gadgets and various processes, is on, while they anxiously await the end of the pandemic scourge. The higher you are on the ladder, the greater the hurt when you fall — as is happening now for schools who flaunt their ‘International’ labels.
However, one has to think long and hard about whether they are really as badly hit as others out there. Though the online method of studying — using everything from apps to in-built phone curriculum to swanky Zoom meetings — is being hailed as the great leveller, a closer study will tend to reveal a whole lot of things that aren’t quite rosy on the outside.
There is already a brewing revolt against online e-teaching with several teachers in Karnataka revolting against bullying by parents who get involved in their children’s e-classes. Most of them, rich and sophisticated, are unhappy and cribbing about the pronunciation and presentation style of teachers. It is said that some videos showing the teachers in a bad light are doing the rounds. While this may be a common complaint that students have had for ages, it is certainly getting a lot of undue traction these days. Even more so among teachers of elitist schools.
Many educationists and administrators have risen to the defence of the aggrieved teachers. But the long-term issue is whether e-teaching should be a part of the Indian educational system. The minor education minister of Karnataka has threatened to take action if e-learning is done at the Kindergarten level. At the moment, social spacing and lockdowns have provided entry rationale for the platform. What happens when the virus fades away?