Online teaching is now a new normal

Despite the damage and the loss of human lives, Covid-19 will also be remembered and thanked for introducing technology that would have taken years to reach the academic world, writes Kulsum Mustafa

Covid-19 seems to have come as a blessing in disguise for the educational world in India which has been till date working with no or just minimum use of technology. Impacted adversely by the pandemic, the academic world came to a near-stop. There was no way out but to adopt technology. In the past few months there has been a quantum jump in technology driven teaching. There has been an instant and sustained jump in online classes, from nursery, right up to degree classes and, of course, skilling and hobby classes. Everyone is on the social media and trying to communicate on social platforms. Human adaptability has seen its best form during Covid-19 times.

Pre-Covid-19 it was just impossible to even dream of a scenario wherein teachers and students were interacting in a virtual world. To think of this being done in government-run schools of Uttar Pradesh was next to impossible. But it happened and now online classes in government schools all over Uttar Pradesh has become a reality.

“It was a swim or sink situation. There was no option, no other way. The pandemic left us no choices, “ is how Ms Lalita Pradeep, deputy Director, basic education, Uttar Pradesh explains the introductio of online classes.

Ms Pandey, who is also director of State Institute of Educational Technology, said they worked upon making a blueprint and made a strategy by which they first linked the staff on online portal and started doing their capacity building, later the students were initiated into online classes. As expected initially, there were lots of issues starting from the mindset, there was in some places very poor net connectivity but soon all these were overcome and things started running smoothly.

Ms Shabana Ahmad, principal of Mission School of Unity College, Lucknow, which caters to nursery to class 12th students. These students come from very under privileged sections of society. They are chiefly first time school goers from their families. It seemed impossible for them to think of online classes. While most of the teachers had no training in taking online classes the majority of the children did not even have smart phones.

But with a will they found a way and they quickly overcome all the hurdles and challenges and now these online classes are running smoothly and without any “In fact thanks to these classes it seems that even the parents, especially mothers have become net savvy and are benefitted through these lessons,” said Ms Ahmad.

Hard work alone is the key for success and this was proved during the Ppandamic according to Prof Nishi Pandey who teaches Engish Literature at the Lucknow University  “We teachers and students worked very hard and together we overcame our difficulties,” explained Prof Pandey.

The pandemic saw a total upsurge in the number of learners who enrolled for skilling and hobby classes. Tulsi Chaitanya from Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh, founder of School of Dream skills specializing in air dry miniature clay models found more people enrolling in her online classes.

“I have has been conducting online classes for the past 12 years but the learners number has never been so high,” said Ms Chaitaniya who is the only person in India to be teaching this fascinating art without the use of cutters.

Play school and Middle school teachers in two prestigious private schools in Lucknow-Saba Zaidi and Samana Zaidi could not agree more. “I am simply and totally awestruck by the way the children have met this online challenge in learning,” said Samana adding that she is often amazed at the level of perfection and innovation in the online presentations of the students “This is so different from the thermocole models we had presented in our school days,” she says.

Despite the damage and the loss of human lives, Covid-19 will also be remembered and thanked for introducing technology that would have taken years to reach the academic world.