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Openness to newer tech can resolve education woes: Sachin Rana

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Sachin Rana

Elets Technomedia organised a three-day virtual India Transformation Summit 2020 from July 10 to July 12. The summit aimed to bring in light the digital transformation taking place in the country and also how India is overcoming COVID challenges. Sachin Rana, Additional Deputy Commissioner,  Chandigarh and Director Technical Education, Chandigarh addressed one of the session themed ‘Challenges & Opportunities in Education Sector during COVID-19 Situation’.

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“We keep on pointing out things that we are doing but there is always a scope of improvement,” said Mr Rana while opening his address. Taking upon how online education has taken the centre stage due to COVID situation, Mr Rana expressed his disagreement with remote education, especially for the primary sect. He said, “Though we are in a phase of digital transformation and education is also taking the online route, however, the student-teacher connect is missing in the new model which I strongly believe should not be the case.”

Calling online education an effective solution for the COVID problem, he added, “The ratio of student: teacher for lower classes is 30:1, while, for graduation, the ratio is 15:1 and for post-graduation, it is 10:1. We are still maintaining the ratio as much as possible.” There should be regular interaction of students and teachers via any possible means like WhatsApp, videoconferencing tools, etc., added Mr Rana.

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Citing challenges faced by the education sector, especially technical education, during the COVID pandemic, Mr Rana mentioned, “The very first challenge is ‘Adaptability’. Adaptability is a challenge faced by both the teachers and the students. Next is the shunning of traditional classroom teaching due to the pandemic for which online education has brought in to keep the education machinery running. Another challenge was that most students attending ITIs and Polytechnique courses are not from a well to do families so many of them lack equipment for required for online mode. Many students do not have even smartphones. So such students have to share and doing so defeats the purpose of online education, considering COVID scenario.”

Also Read: Need for Cost-Effective, Accessible for All Solutions to Augment Education Sector: KS Raj

Digital literacy is one of the issues the authorities face when it comes to underprivileged students. Power cuts are another issue people face, added Mr Rana.

Continuing on the issues in education due to COVID pandemic he highlighted, “In the traditional classroom teaching the teacher can scold a student or can make the student study, whereas, in online classes, students have to self-motivated and have to be prepared for the class in advance.” Quality assurance is somewhere missing in the online mode and there is a need to bridge this gap, he added.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner emphasised on the bridging the gap in digital literacy as moving ahead, such online practices will be a norm in the industry.  Hence, a need to enhance the capacity of faculties to teach and deliver knowledge online and through various ways be it in the form of lectures, illustrations, videos, etc. Also, the learning pace of the students have to be encouraged and regular assignments have to there to keep students engaged.

Also Read: Online Education Reshaping Learning: Anju Sharma

While resting his words he spoke on solutions Chandigarh is implementing. Addressing the same Mr Rana underlined, “Lectures or videos of renowned faculties should be recorded and documented and should be made readily available to students. Besides this, we are also encouraging students to visit Bharat Skill Portal for e-content on technical education. The portal is by the Goverment of India and is maintained by AICTE so we encourage students to visit the portal. We are also encouraging faculties to visit portals like Coursera where many free courses are available so as to enhance tier knowledge and skills. The most important task is to keep students and faculties engaged so they utilise their time wisely.”

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