Both classroom learning and keeping intact online teaching tech. for future needs vital, says Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) Chairman Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe has stressed the need for the adoption of blended learning in the post-COVID era as all the stakeholders of educational institutions in the country have put technology to the best use in the past year due to the pandemic.
Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe was delivering the University Distinguished Lecture (virtual mode) in the programme organised by SRM University, Andhra Pradesh. University vice-chancellor Prof. Vajja Sambasiva Rao, Pro vice-chancellor Prof. D. Narayana Rao and several others from across the States participated in the virtual conference.
He said that online learning evolved since 2008-09. But following COVID-19 outbreak suddenly all the campuses were required to go online and institutions that were already using online mode were able to navigate smoothly while others got accustomed gradually.
“Today, we see all classes starting from nursery to higher education being held online,” he said.
Students and teachers faced certain challenges which could be overcome over a period of time. “Mooc was a one-way system where faculty was required to take a class in a studio without an audience. Even then they got nervous and we had to cajole them. Now, every faculty member is able to take classes online and it’s a phenomenal transformation,” he said.
About 10% of the villages in India still had broadband issues and many students couldn’t afford devices for online education and the government had to address it, he said.
‘Human touch needed’
It was important to have a classroom experience where students could interact, argue and discuss subjects while having hands-on experience. “It is vital to come back to offline mode but at the same time, we shouldn’t dump online mode and the technology that enabled it. We should have a blend of online and classroom education to be prepared for the future,” Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe said.
“The power of technology has shown us that distance doesn’t matter. The expertise which is available anywhere in the world is a touch away and that confidence which we have gained should be used,” he said.
“We have conducted over 1,000 programmes at Atal Academy which was started three years ago. Earlier, we used to have one workshop for 50 faculty members and now we have more than 200 members per programme and experts are drawn from across the world,” Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe said.
He also spoke extensively on the new education policy which aims at bringing the best out of a student.
Issues to be addressed
Special Chief Secretary (Higher Education) Satish Chandra said that COVID-19 had badly affected educational institutions in the State. “We used to have online classes earlier too but having the same for 12 lakh students in over 3,000 colleges isn’t an easy issue,” he said.
“There are many issues to be addressed before we look for desired results. Capacity building among teachers is one important aspect to ensure lectures are presented effectively. It is a challenge to ensure that a student sits through the lecture and not all have access to devices and a broadband connection,” he said. A dashboard to monitor and overview online education system was necessary to implement it in such a large scale.
Mr. Satish Chandra said that the State government was providing laptops or cash to the students pursuing professional courses. “Blended learning is the need of the hour,” he added.
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