Is online education and work from home here to stay?

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Essay Contest for UPSC Exam for IAS

‘WFH’. The most commonly used hashtag and abbreviation used nowadays among public. “Work from home” is need of the hour as well as the new trend in this pandemic year. There is a sudden switchover from a normal life with rush, to a new stagnate life. From crowded institutions filled with the cheerful noises of students, to completely locked universities and schools with pin drop silence, everything has transformed all of a sudden, since the pandemic of COVID 19 has occupied the earth.

However, we as humans deny to accept constant life, and thus deny to be in a constant stage by opposing and fighting the obstacles which prevent us to move ahead and carry on with normality. We have found alternatives and solutions for continuing the work flow, with the help of technology.

Einstein had once quoted that “Necessity is the mother of invention”. This motivated us to devise new ways to keep moving. During the closure of physical classrooms, technology has played a vital role and enabled students to experience the same way through virtual classrooms. Online classrooms have become the substitute for physical classrooms. Blackboards and whiteboards being replaced by virtual screens and mobile devices, Chalks being replaced by virtual pens. Smart classrooms are into our screens in the form of power point presentations, animations etc.

Moreover, technology is also able to enable group discussions and meetings online. Students and teachers can interact virtually as they do physically in the classrooms. Ironically, even the classroom fun cannot be missed in virtual teaching. There are options to chat to ask doubts, share the screens, conference through video. Students can even post their assignments and projects online pertaining to given deadlines. Teachers are able to assess and evaluate the students virtually through online tests and let them view their grades. i.e., online teaching has substitutes for every procedures of physical teaching.

Similar is the case with offices in industrial sectors, government offices and many more. Discussions and decision making, assessment of work, everything is possible and is now taking place on online software which facilitate many tasks for employers and employees.

However, it seems that all this is going to be the ‘new normal’, since it has been the alternative to carry on work hassle free, and also promotes social distancing.

Since every coin consists of 2 faces, therefore on the other hand online work and education has some limitations as well. Many a times internet connection does not cooperate, people in remote areas are unable to access the resources effectively. Most of the times, disturbance from the surroundings may affect the tasks such as video conferencing. People need a separate dedicated space to work effectively with concentration. Environment designed in offices and institutions is specifically meant for work, which is missed and lacks while working from home. From another view point, remaining glued to the screens of our digital assistants may cause eye strain and headache, which negatively affects our mental as well as our physical health.

To conclude, it may not be possible to replace the physical workplace, but some tasks can be shifted to the virtual media. The pandemic situation is not going to persist, hence normal life with “work out of home” tag will soon be back, with same physical workplace in force. As it has been said that “This too shall pass”, thus pandemic will soon pass, returning us the normalcy and original way of working with colleagues, learning with classmates and enjoying the world of cheer and positivity.

-Snigdha Kashyap

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