“Before the pandemic, none could have even imagined education turning remote and even our teachers learnt to hold a class over online platform only now. Gradually, the private apps also become universally accessible removing the current inequities”, said CPPR chairman D. Dhanuraj.
Rohith Pradeep, now in Class 12, was excited when a popular education app embedded in a brand new tab was bought as he entered high school.
Among the promises that came with the app then priced at ₹30,000 for three years were a mentor to handhold on demand and a replacement for the tab if it were to develop any snag.
“Neither of the promises were kept and when the tab broke down. we were asked either to buy a new one or to retrieve the memory card and use it in a mobile phone. Amidst online classes and tuitions, it was anyway hardly used,” said the youngster.
With remote learning in vogue during the pandemic, there is a proliferation of education apps and increased dependence on technology, which has evoked mixed response among the stakeholders.
A recent survey on online education held by Balasangham, a children’s outfit of CPI(M), among 2,500 students found that private apps were being used by 8.15%. “In a society already afflicted with financial inequities, this percentage is not negligible. Hence, we have recommended the education department to launch an app to ensure universal access,” said Sarod Changadath, secretary, Balasangham.
The Centre for Public Policy Research said while the hybrid mode of education continued to remain relevant, higher education might increasingly migrate to remote learning in keeping with the changing times as envisaged in the National Education Policy brought out last year.
“The role of the State in education is being increasingly challenged leading to an ongoing clash between conventional idea of education and tech-driven new age education. Before the pandemic, none could have even imagined education turning remote and even our teachers learnt to hold a class over online platform only now. Gradually, the private apps also become universally accessible removing the current inequities, said CPPR chairman D. Dhanuraj.
Educationist George Onakkoor vehemently opposed the over reliance on apps and technology looking at it as the necessary evil that should be overlooked after the present times of remote learning. “Education is intrinsically linked to the social and cultural ethos of an area and inculcating values in children during their formative years, which these apps can never do. They only offer information while the other facets of education like knowledge, wisdom, and culture is completely missing from them. Besides, these apps are developed and follow teaching methods without the oversight of any competent authority,” said Mr. Onakkoor who felt that while schools can definitely be improved they can never be replaced.
The article was published in The Hindu