India performed quite well in the transition to digital learning during the COVID-19 lockdown despite unequal access to digital learning devices and a lack of internet connectivity, as per a report by the Oxford University Press (OUP).The Covid-19 pandemic has paved the way for a hybrid model in education by combining digital and traditional teaching methods. However, the report (OUP) suggests that the governments need to act fast so that the progress from the past year is not lost. The report is based on the insights from experts across seven countries — India, the UK, Brazil, South Africa, Pakistan, Spain, and Turkey.
While the pandemic affected more than 1.7 billion students across the world in the last 12 months, the teachers, students, and parents have adapted new teaching and learning methods. India, among other countries, has transitioned to online learning well, scoring 3.3/5. However, the users have to face difficulties due to unequal access to digital learning devices, as well as a lack of internet connectivity and little familiarity with the online learning tools. Hence, it should be a priority for the government to provide more funding, as well as addressing connectivity issues-particularly in rural and remote areas.
The top three issues that have been identified by OPU are: socio-economic barriers, lack of professional development opportunities for teachers, and disruption or uncertainty in day-to-day life caused by the pandemic. However, the majority of the respondents feel that the government should support improving connectivity, increased funding for technology and provide more professional development opportunities for teachers/ professors to support digital learning. The report states that the utilisation of digital learning tools and resources will shape educational practice in the future.
Drawing the insights towards the sustainability of digital learning, OUP’s reports emphasize that governments should focus on the challenges faced by teachers and students during the pandemic for the formation of future policy and curriculum development. The authority must work with institutions to address the digital learning divide and also focuses on the skills need to be digitally fluent as well as adaptable to future learning methods.