A recent survey by Teamlease has highlighted learning loss among university students. Majority of the system might have become habituated to the new normal and enjoying easier and quick access to information, flexible learning etc. But it has become imperative to take initiative to mitigate the ill effect of digital learning for students residing in remote areas.
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According to the survey findings, college students believe they have faced 40-60% of learning loss due to Covid. It also indicated that it would take three years to bridge the gap. Due to digital limitations, continuous online education has led to learning loss among students, especially in the rural belt, says Keshari Lal Verma, vice-chancellor, Pandit Ravishankar Shukla University, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. “With the fear of an impending third wave of Covid-19 looming large, academic institutions should think of student-centric feasible ideas that can be implemented to address the learning gap,” says Verma.
School, colleges and other institutions will be opened for physical classes in Chhattisgarh from August 2. Verma has asked principals and college teachers to get a feedback from students and take a decision as per students’ need to mitigate the learning loss.
“Despite regular online classes, lack of communication, liaison and interest have been among major challenges for digital learning. Students, residing in remote areas are forced to miss their classes due to lack of internet connectivity,” says Harish K Thakur, chairperson, Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Himachal Pradesh University. He suggets that students can be divided into smaller groups and can be called on the campus on a weekly or fortnightly basis. “Similar to the lines of distance learning mode, they can be called for face-to face classes. This way, if not fully, partially problems can be addressed.”
T Yadagiri Rao, chairperson, Board of Studies, Department of Public Administration & HRM, Kakatiya University, Warangal, Telangana, says that it is a greater challenge for rural students and first-generation learners. For instance, around 70-80% of students at his university are from the rural belt. “Sometimes these students have to go to to work as daily wage labourers, instead of attending classes,” says Rao who feels the government must strengthen digital infrastructure to help students from such humble backgrounds.