Kerala

An opportunity for education reforms

There is a growing demand to incorporate the benefits of virtual classrooms into the academic system.

There is a growing demand to incorporate the benefits of virtual classrooms into the academic system.  

Time is ripe for students to carry forward self-directed learning: experts

Though the lockdown has unravelled the government’s plans to advance the academic calendar, academicians feel the recess can become an opportunity to herald reforms in the education sector.

Many educational institutions are utilising videoconferencing platforms and e-resources to ensure continuity of learning as classes and activities on campuses remain suspended. Though institutions will return to conventional pedagogical methods once formal classes resume, there is a growing demand to incorporate the benefits of virtual classrooms into the academic system.

Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) Vice Chairman Rajan Gurukkal P.M. says the pandemic has helped create a new synergy for better higher education by breaking much of the clichéd institutional structures that impede “real learning”. The time is ripe for students to carry forward self-directed learning and for teachers to teach online, he says adding that the lockdown demands academics to alter their mode of teaching and redesign courses for online delivery.

“Those who are experienced with online teaching and tools should help their colleagues to adapt their courses accordingly. Those going back to teaching in traditional classrooms are expected to incorporate some of the online tools they are now learning now,” Prof. Gurukkal says.

Open online courses

While universities and colleges in the State have mostly used emails to communicate institutional matters with students, the lockdown has prompted teachers to use the facility for transmission of lessons and assignments. Besides, several students have taken to massive open online courses (MOOC) on their own. The KSHEC recently published the University Grants Commission (UGC)-prescribed portals for online courses and e-books.

The present situation, Prof. Gurukkal says, is an ideal opportunity for universities to shift to the information and communications technology (ICT) environment and adopt the use of multimedia and imaging technology in an era of advanced outcome-based education. He also proposes bar-coding of answer sheets to expedite the examination process.

The Kerala University Teachers’ Organisation calls for conducting seminars over digital platforms post lockdown. Similarly, attendance for open defences must be limited to 10 people with the rest taking part via videoconferencing. Moreover, the situation should be used as an opportunity to go paperless by relying on the digital document filing system.

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Printable version | Jul 4, 2020 11:38:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/an-opportunity-for-education-reforms/article31360268.ece

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