India’s transition to online education.

Credits: India Today

According to a report by Oxford University Press (OUP), India switched from offline education to online education during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, the report, titled “Education: The Path to a Digital Revolution,” also said the government must act quickly to ensure that the progress made over the past year is not lost. The coronavirus pandemic has paved the way for blended and hybrid learning models in education that combine technology-based or digital education with traditional teaching.

In addition to extensive secondary research, the report gathered information from experts in seven markets – India, UK, Brazil, South Africa, Pakistan, Spain and Turkey, as well as hundreds of educators around the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected more than 1.7 billion students worldwide in the past 12 months. The Oxford report examined how students, parents and teachers have adapted to new ways of learning and teaching and how they would continue to use digital learning tools and resources to shape educational practices.

In India, compared to other countries, respondents rated the transition to e-learning to be quite good at 3.3 / 5.

However, a major problem identified by respondents was uneven access to digital learning devices, as well as lack of internet connectivity and ignorance of the tools needed to facilitate online learning.

The majority of respondents in India (71%) also felt that the transition to the Internet affected their well-being. The government’s priority is to provide more funding and address connectivity issues, especially in rural areas.

According to the report, the top three issues that negatively impacted digital education were: socio-economic barriers, lack of professional development opportunities for teachers and disruption or insecurity in daily life caused by the pandemic.

When asked what steps the government should take to support digital learning, respondents asked for help to improve connectivity, increase funding for technology, and improve professional development opportunities for teachers.

OUP CEO Nigel Portwood said, unsurprisingly, the pandemic has led to a rapid increase in digital learning adoption.

In rethinking what education might look like in the future, it is imperative that governments learn from those who have been on the front lines and provide and receive learning.

We have a great opportunity to learn from all our experiences to develop education systems that work for both local and global society.

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