e-learning amid pandemicmakes education expensive

Parents are forced to shell out more on laptops and cellphones

June 15, 2020 11:53 pm | Updated 11:53 pm IST - VIZIANAGARAM/SRIKAKULAM

Parents say that they are paying fee huge fees to the experts who are conducting special classes online.

Parents say that they are paying fee huge fees to the experts who are conducting special classes online.

The significant change in education system in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic is adding financial burden to the parents as many of them are forced to buy laptops, desktops and smartphones so that their children can attend digital classes.

Laptops are available in the range of ₹35000 and ₹80,000 depending on the brand, configuration and features. A basic smartphone suitable for digital classes costs at least ₹11,000. Computers and cellphones have become the essential gadgets for the students preparing of competitive examinations such as EAMCET, Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Examination (NEET).

Financial burden

“Apart from buying gadgets, we are paying huge fees to teachers and experts conducting special classes on digital platforms. The education has turned into a costly affair, beyond the reach of common people,” said B. Srinivasa Rao whose daughter is preparing for the NEET.

Meanwhile, laptop prices are also going up steadily with the huge gap between the supply and the demand. “The laptop sell figure of shops which was around 120 laptops a day before the COVID-19, has gone up to 400 per day. I think the demand will be even more as online education is getting popular in rural areas too,” Chandan Musaddi of Neelam Computer Bazaar in Visakhapatnam told The Hindu over phone.

According to former Vice Chancellor of Ambedkar University Hanumanthu Lajapathirai the e-learning concept will gain more importance in the coming days.

“Wide use of technology in education is necessary. I hope that the government would come up with a new education policy in the backdrop of the pandemic,” said Mr. Lajapathirai.

Additional classrooms

The pandemic is also posing a challenge for educational institutions as they have to improve their technology to conduct digital classes, which is a costly affair. They fear that the expenditure would go up after the reopening of educational institutions.

“The strength of each class is around 80 now. Considering the guidelines on social distancing norms, not more than 40 students can be accomodated in a classroom which means additional classrooms have to be built. It will not be viable for many colleges and schools which are already in deep financial crisis,” said G. Swami Naidu, chairman of Gurajada Educational Society, Srikakulam.

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