Is Online Education and Work from Home Here To Stay?

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Is Online Education and Work from Home Here To Stay?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new” – Socrates

The 21st century has opened the floodgates of technological wonders. Michael Dell has rightly said, “Technology now allows people to connect anytime, anywhere, to anyone in the world from almost any device. This is dramatically changing the way people work, facilitating 24*7 collaboration with colleagues who are dispersed across time zones, countries and continents.” The third decade of this century has witnessed an ugly start due to the worldwide carnage of the novel corona virus. The lockdown has led to the closure of educational institutions and workplaces among other establishments and suddenly online education and work-from-home has become the new normal.

Remote learning is not an entirely new concept. The pandemic has compelled both the teachers and students to quickly adapt to the virtual classrooms. Classes are being conducted through various apps like Zoom, Google Classroom. In the absence of classroom teaching, teachers are evolving new ways of communication with their pupils via interactive videos, power point presentations etc. This has come as a boon for many schoolchildren as they are getting to learn more effectively and raise questions without embarrassment or peer pressure. Many schools have also started taking their examinations online and Delhi University has also announced similar intention. The ever-growing popularity of the digital mode of learning is being reflected in the many-fold increase in the number of students in several ed-tech platforms like Byju’s, Unacademy, Vedantu since the lockdown.

Online education has its share of cons too. It sometimes becomes exacting for teachers to keep mischievous pupils at bay during live streaming of classes. Technological glitches, irregular power supply and inequalities in income pose a serious hurdle in accessing e-learning in India.

While in-person teaching may never go away completely, digital learning can definitely supplement passive learning. A blended model of these two methods is likely to become popular in the coming days. It is still debatable whether the sudden transition to e-learning owing to lockdown will determine the course of education. The University Grants Commission (UGC) has agreed to conduct forty percent of the classes online. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the initiation of online courses by the top hundred universities in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). PM e VIDYA programme will be launched which will combine digital platforms like DIKSHA, SWAYAM etc. The Union Government has proposed the introduction of twelve DTH channels for classes 1 to 12 to aid those with no internet access. All these indicate that education will undergo a radical change in the post pandemic world and remote learning will be inevitable in the near future.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly said that in the COVID-19 era , home has become the new office and internet the new meeting room. In a world where social distancing is the new normal, work-from-home has suddenly become important. While employees in the Information Technology (IT) sector are well aware of this trend, it is totally a new thing in the public sector and other practices. Many companies have allowed their employees to work-from-home in these trying times. The whole world including India is witnessing heightened technological innovations and many works do not require physical presence at the office. Banking sector will gain a lot from embracing virtual workplaces as services like customer care, phone banking do not require meeting with customers. Working from the comfort of home allows the employers in cutting down their establishment costs and enhance productivity as employees get more opportunity to maintain work-life balance and saving commute time.

This practice is not going to wane away even when the lockdown is lifted or the threat of COVID-19 gets reduced. Twitter has already instructed its staff to work remotely forever. Unacademy has also told its sixty percent workforce to follow similar practice. Like online education, hybrid model is the way forward in this case too due to the perils of data piracy, unfavourable work environment in many houses, deficiency of adequate infrastructure and expertise and mental stress due to lack of socializing.

We must learn to reap the benefits of technology. Besides, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared that we must learn to live with the virus till a vaccine is developed. Change is the only constant. Hence, online education and work-from-home is essential for our survival and sustainable development.

“Life happens. Adapt. Embrace change, and make the most of everything that comes your way” – Nick Jonas

-Chitrak Dey

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