2GB data scheme delay is a dampener, say teachers

Attendance is poor in general, pathetic at afternoons

October 01, 2021 01:19 am | Updated 01:19 am IST - TIRUCHI

Though online classes are being conducted for the first-year students of arts and science colleges and a mix of online and offline mode is adopted for intermediate and final-year students, teachers say the delay in the implementation of the 2 GB data a day scheme for this academic year is a dampener.

The teachers are apparently unable to prevail upon students to attend classes with a sense of authority. The attendance is, in general, poor, and pathetic at the afternoon session, they lament. “The assumption that all students have smart phones and can afford the daily expenses for digital data can well be termed myopic,” according to P. David Livingston, zonal secretary, Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers’ Association.

“To a considerable extent, the possession of the laptops given by the government as a freebie at the higher secondary level is a huge advantage for students in rural parts. But the students are unable to put their laptops to the best use because of their inability to afford the cost of data on a daily basis,” he said.

“We do emphasize attendance, but there is nothing much that could be done if the students do not attend the online classes. The attendance is only about 50% owing to the pause in the implementation of the scheme,” said M.S. Bala Murugan, State general secretary of the Association of University Teachers.

The teachers are not entirely discounting the possibility of the colleges and universities reverting to offline teaching-learning in a month or two.

The Higher Education Department is perhaps thinking that the free data may not be required in such an eventuality. But the students will need the free data as the University Grants Commission (UGC) is keen on making it mandatory for higher education institutions to adopt the blended mode of learning under which 40% of any course is taught online and the rest offline, in keeping with the National Education Policy, 2020, college heads pointed out. The UGC draft suggests that the blended mode will not only increase skills among students but will also give them greater access to information.

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