Is E-way the right way?

The Asian Age.  | Sean Colin Young

Life, More Features

With a dismal teacher-student ratio of 1:50, school children prefer to go online to seek clarity on their study concepts.

With increasing number of online education websites, students and professionals are turning to their laptops and smartphones to add to their skill-sets.

Fourteen-year-old Aryan prefers the Web modules for self-study. He’s not alone. Most of his classmates do the same. In fact, most students seek online help for study.

With a chock-a-block schedule, purely due to peer pressure, a normal routine means waking up early to go to school, come back and finish the assignments, followed by 3-4 hours of coaching classes and completing their additional homeworks as well. Amid all the chaos, a child is often stressed out and sleep-deprived.

While huge sums are spent on tuitions and extra classes, mostly it all goes in vain.

Most students who top board exams in India say self-study helped them score so high.

With increasing number of online education websites, students and professionals are turning to their laptops and smartphones to add to their skill-sets.

When we learn alone, we can get bored and demotivated easily even if the course content and instruction methods are good. With live and interactive learning methods, the physical classroom setting is more or less replicated which engages students better.

For Aryan the format helps students to devote proper time to the class otherwise self-study becomes a non-committal activity.

Neelu, a mother of a 16-year-old feels that students pursuing their remidial lessons online is benificial. However, it isn’t the only solution, she adds, “It (online) is very expensive and not everyone can afford it.” She says, “Most students may not be highly intelligent and do require some handholding which only a teacher can provide.”

Many universities are offering valuable courses.

The content of most online education course is extremely engaging.

Udit Sawhney, CEO, myPAT, an online education site, says, “If you look closely at the schedule of a student, you’ll realise there is very limited time for self-study. Although, it will be wrong to generalise, but most students don’t get enough time beyond designated tuition hours.”

He feels most schedules are monotonous and don’t allow any clearl goal. And this fails our educational ecosystem (schools, teachers, mentors, students). Students, he says, often make mindless efforts towards a particular direction or stream of study  without understanding their goals and ways to achieve.

He further mentions, “Our school system has an extremely skewed teacher-student ratio. As per a recent report by ministry of human resource, it is around one teacher for every 50 students, and the number only increases for senior classes.”There is a need to personalise the way a student looks at education as every student has a different learning ability and speed.

Over the last few years, online learning has shown impressive growth, drawing investors’ attention. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame and his wife, Priscilla Chan invested in Bangalore-based Byju’s, a mobile-based learning company. Already backed by Sequoia Capital and Sofina, among others Byju’s is simply flourishing. This is a clear indication of how the sector is being perceived.With widespread Internet access and international educational institutions joining open online learning have equipped Coursera – the market leader in online learning – with 1,500 courses from universities and schools across the world. They cater over a million and half students in India. Other top players in this sector are edX and Khan Academy with similar success stories. Ambar, a student of Jagannath International Management School, Vasant Kunj, feels using online modules for study is light on the pocket but expresses that although one can be a student of physics he or she can also learn things about commerce onlne. “Online porta
ls make life easier with 24x7 access to resourcesand you can study at your own pace,” he says, adding, “The study material is is more effective than what is taught in classrooms.”

Chhavi Bakaria, an assistant professor, feels that online portals are a good tool especially to learn the basics of a topic. She says, “They should be supplimented with classroom doubt clearing sessions and theory books for a deeper understanding of the topic.”

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