Both classroom learning and keeping online teaching technology intact. vital for future needs, says Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe
The Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, has emphasized the need to introduce blended learning in the post-COVID era, as all stakeholders in the country’s educational institutions have made optimal use of the technology last year because of the pandemic.
Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe gave the University Distinguished Lecture (virtual mode) in the program of SRM University, Andhra Pradesh. The virtual conference was attended by the University Vice Chancellor Prof. Vajja Sambasiva Rao, Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof. D. Narayana Rao and several others from all over the States.
He said that online learning has been evolving since 2008-09. But after the outbreak of COVID-19, all campuses suddenly had to go online and institutions that were already using the online mode could navigate smoothly while others gradually got used to it.
“Today we see all classes from kindergarten through college being held online,” he said.
Students and teachers faced certain challenges that could be overcome over time. “Mooc was a one-way system that required teachers to take a course in a studio with no audience. Even then, they got nervous and we had to flatter them. Now any faculty member can take courses online, and it’s a phenomenal change, ”he said.
About 10% of villages in India still have broadband issues and many students cannot afford online education equipment and the government needs to take care of it, he said.
“Human touch necessary”
It was important to have a classroom experience where students could interact, argue, and discuss topics while getting hands-on experience. “Going back offline is important, but at the same time we shouldn’t give up being online and the technology that made it possible. We should have a mixture of online and face-to-face teaching in order to be prepared for the future, ”said Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe.
“The power of the technology has shown us that distance doesn’t matter. The know-how that is available anywhere in the world is just a touch away and the trust gained should be used, ”he said.
“We ran over 1,000 programs at the Atal Academy, which started three years ago. We used to have a workshop for 50 faculty members and now we have more than 200 members per program and experts from all over the world, ”said Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe.
He also spoke at length about the new educational policy aimed at getting the best out of a student.
Problems to Solve
Special Secretary General (Higher Education) Satish Chandra said COVID-19 has severely impacted the state’s educational institutions. “We used to have online courses before, but it’s not an easy problem to do this for 12 lakh students in over 3,000 colleges,” he said.
“There are many issues that need to be addressed before we look for the results we want. Capacity building among faculty is an important aspect of ensuring that lectures are presented effectively. It is a challenge to make sure that a student is sitting during the class and that not everyone has access to equipment and broadband, ”he said. A dashboard to monitor and oversee the online education system was necessary to implement it on such a large scale.
Mr Satish Chandra said the state government is providing laptops or cash to students taking professional courses. “Blended learning is the order of the day,” he added.