India’s education system is one of the largest in the world with over 14 Lakh Schools and about 20 Crore students aged between 6 to 16 years old. Yet, our system is plagued by two disturbing features:
The above trends are well summarized in the ASER Survey Report 2020. It would only be fair to note here that governments and agencies have been committed to improving the state of India’s education system. The funds have been allocated, the intent is visible, but the challenges are mammoth for anyone to overcome in the short term unless we use the technology to leapfrog our education system.
E-learning has been the greatest revolution in contemporary education. It has brought along a notable change in the system and opened enormous opportunities for students. Besides empowering students to progress beyond the course expectations, it inspires them to explore and go beyond the set curriculum. Another considerable benefit of online schools is that it allows teachers to dedicate comparatively more time and focus on pedagogical functionality. It facilitates teachers to digitally issue tests, automate marking, and track student progress reports with reporting tools enabling the education environment to be more accommodating and innovative. Adapting to this new model of education is a whole new experience for both educators/teachers and students.
The problems of access, equity, and equality can be addressed to a great extent with the use of technology and tools. While building physical infrastructure is not scalable, building technology to deliver quality education is entirely possible. We only must overcome our mental barriers, which the pandemic has softened for us to break it easily. The online schools and blended learning models are here to stay.
Working with online schools provides excellent benefits to the teachers:
Working from home ensure greater efficiency as the commute time is reduced by over 90 minutes a day on average. This translates into a saving of 315 hours over a schools’ academic year of 210 days. This time can help in restoring the work-life balance that many teachers are deprived of. Further, there are fewer staff meetings and no committees that extend the role of teacher into administration.
One of the long-term impacts of teaching in a physical school is the stress on voice and knees. Most schools do not offer microphones to teach, and a good teacher would never sit while teaching. With an average of 3 hours of active teaching per day, it can take a toll on one’s health over the long term. With online schooling, the teachers are seated comfortably in front of their laptops and speak into digital microphones to ensure that their energy is best used in delivering quality education.
Online teaching allows educators to expand their horizons and reach a greater number of students. For teachers who are looking at making a greater impact online schools can help them reach students living in areas with limited access to good quality education. Through tools offered by online schools, they get the opportunity to shape the future of many youngsters who would have otherwise not had this chance.
Considering the need to be transparent with the quality of teaching-learning, Online Schools are bound to pay much higher salaries to attract the best of the talent from the School Education Space.
Online schools offer comprehensive digital tools for better classroom management and teaching. The ease with which the teachers present a video, audio clip, or presentation is unmatched in comparison to the experience of a physical school, even with smart boards.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but the students are far more focused and attentive in an online school. With web cameras on and eyes darting at the teacher in the e-class, the students are less distracted by the presence of other students. The company of parents at home also ensures that the students stay tuned and motivated.
Online schools offer an efficient flow of information and communication that ensures transparency in expectations and understanding with the management, academic leadership, and colleagues. The camaraderie is that of mutual trust and friendship rather than a supervisor and overbearing Principal.
By the extension of the above, an online teacher’s life is less stressful and more meaningful. It opens possibilities of a healthier teacher, well-balanced life which in turn leads to happy students and a satisfied school.
I hope that Online Schools revive the Curriculum Vitae of many ex-teachers and thereby improve the access, equity, and quality of education to students by overcoming the shortage of teachers in our country.
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