Challenges of Online Education during COVID19

June 23, 2020

COVID 19 pandemic has brought about a paradigm shift in the field of education with the teaching-learning process going online world over. The teacher who is traditionally perceived to be a sage on the stage has now metamorphosed into online learning facilitator.

The sudden lockdown in the wake of rapid spread of the virus gave a little time for the institutions and educators to make a smooth transitioning from the traditional mode of teaching to the virtual learning. During these hard times, what came to the rescue of education providers world over is the introduction of free services from videoconferencing Apps such as ZOOM, Microsoft teams, Skype and Google Meet. While there were reservations about the safety of using Zoom, other providers came up with more secure features.

Apart from using these online platforms for going live with the teaching-learning process, some institutions are employing digital learning tools such as Google classroom, Moodle, Edmodo and Schoology which enable the learners to practise what they have learnt online at their individual space and time with default feedback system. While many educational institutions are employing these free to use applications, some institutions have subscribed to more customised applications in their quest to be the providers of effective online education

Scenario in Karnataka

Following the unanticipated nationwide lockdown due to COVID 19, some higher education institutions including Bangalore University in Karnataka acted swiftly to conduct live online classes using free apps such as ZOOM. Some colleges used the social video calling applications such as Whatsapp to send lecture notes and communicate with the students. Following the directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs restricting the use of ZOOM for videoconferencing/online classes, the Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) developed its own videoconferencing app called KSOU Connect’. However, the introduction of online education in colleges and universities has not been uniform. As far as schools are concerned only the elite schools were able to switch to the online mode of teaching-learning process. The digital divide is the major factor that is hampering the smooth transition to online education in the state. In rural Karnataka, the absence of proper telephone network and internet connectivity is depriving the discerning rural students from access to online education.

New Academic year

Even as the state education board is struggling to conduct SSLC examinations, it sent out a notification informing the plans to start the school from July in a phased manner after obtaining the feedback from the stakeholders. The plan has met with strong opposition from the parents including an online campaign against resuming classes. The opposition was made primarily on the ground that the COVID 19 cases are rapidly increasing on a daily basis and it is difficult to ensure social distancing norms among children. The parents are apprehensive that schools can become the hubs of the virus. Sensing the pulse of the people, the education minister immediately clarified on social media that it is not in a hurry to resume classes without considering the opinion of the stakeholders.

If schools are not going to open in July, what is the next option? Online classes may seem to be the simple, obvious answer, but it needs to be looked into more closely.

Online classes can fall into two types. Live classes and pre-recorded classes. Online Live classes high-speed internet connection and availability of laptop for the teachers and students. Students may be able to access online teaching on their smart phones, but it is neither convenient for daily use nor efficient as using some features on smart phones is cumbersome. However, many students cannot afford to have laptops for learning. If there are two kids in a family, they need two laptops. Even if you assume that all college students can afford to have laptops, what about internet connectivity in rural areas? The digital divide will pose a major challenge for higher educational institutions in the state to completely rely on live online classes. The other option is making available pre-recorded lectures on online platforms such as college website or YouTube channel. In order to enable rural students to access them, local resource centres need to be set up.

Schools and online classes

What about pre-school and lower primary classes? Even though the urban children can afford to have digital gadgets, is it sensible to make the tiny tots glued to smart phones/tabs/laptops? Will these kids be able to handle these devices unsupervised? If both the parents are working, will the grandparents or care takers be able to help the children with the proper use of the devices? Will they be able to keep a tab on the abuse of the phone?

Let us assume the mother gives up the job to assist the child engage in online learning. Is it healthy for the eyes to make the child stare at the screen for hours together, when parents otherwise restrict the usage of smart phones? Online learning requires the presence of the parent throughout the classes. Is such physical presence feasible for the parent who has to attend to essential household chores such as cooking? If there is only one smart phone at home which the child is using for the online class, how to attend the important phone calls?

So what is the panacea? Televise the lessons. Launch exclusive educational channels for different grades, which can telecast pre-recorded lectures. Televised lessons can reach rural populace much more easily. Of course they will not be a mechanism for feedback as in live or face to face class, but something is better than nothing.



By Anthony D'Souza
Anthony D’Souza, Madanthyar/Bahrain is a lecturer in English, currently teaching at BTI Ministry of Education, Bahrain.
To submit your article / poem / short story to Daijiworld, please email it to mentioning 'Article/poem submission for daijiworld' in the subject line. Please note the following:

  • The article / poem / short story should be original and previously unpublished in other websites except in the personal blog of the author. We will cross-check the originality of the article, and if found to be copied from another source in whole or in parts without appropriate acknowledgment, the submission will be rejected.
  • The author of the poem / article / short story should include a brief self-introduction limited to 500 characters and his/her recent picture (optional). Pictures relevant to the article may also be sent (optional), provided they are not bound by copyright. Travelogues should be sent along with relevant pictures not sourced from the Internet. Travelogues without relevant pictures will be rejected.
  • In case of a short story / article, the write-up should be at least one-and-a-half pages in word document in Times New Roman font 12 (or, about 700-800 words). Contributors are requested to keep their write-ups limited to a maximum of four pages. Longer write-ups may be sent in parts to publish in installments. Each installment should be sent within a week of the previous installment. A single poem sent for publication should be at least 3/4th of a page in length. Multiple short poems may be submitted for single publication.
  • All submissions should be in Microsoft Word format or text file. Pictures should not be larger than 1000 pixels in width, and of good resolution. Pictures should be attached separately in the mail and may be numbered if the author wants them to be placed in order.
  • Submission of the article / poem / short story does not automatically entail that it would be published. Daijiworld editors will examine each submission and decide on its acceptance/rejection purely based on merit.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to edit the submission if necessary for grammar and spelling, without compromising on the author's tone and message.
  • Daijiworld reserves the right to reject submissions without prior notice. Mails/calls on the status of the submission will not be entertained. Contributors are requested to be patient.
  • The article / poem / short story should not be targeted directly or indirectly at any individual/group/community. Daijiworld will not assume responsibility for factual errors in the submission.
  • Once accepted, the article / poem / short story will be published as and when we have space. Publication may take up to four weeks from the date of submission of the write-up, depending on the number of submissions we receive. No author will be published twice in succession or twice within a fortnight.
  • Time-bound articles (example, on Mother's Day) should be sent at least a week in advance. Please specify the occasion as well as the date on which you would like it published while sending the write-up.

Comment on this article

  • myna, mysuru

    Wed, Jun 24 2020

    To have televised lessons there should be a common syllabus for all the CBSE, ICSC, State Boards, Universities in India. Otherwise, all entertainment channels will have to be shut down and only lessons telecast. It's not a practical solution. The best solution is to shut down institutions until a vaccine is discovered especially for a country like India. Parents are unwilling to lose their children to the pandemic but would prefer a deferred year in continuing their education. Life is more important than lessons. Lessons can be learnt if the person is around alive and kicking.

  • John, Mangalore

    Tue, Jun 23 2020

    On viruses and other subjects, sometimes due to limitations of human knowledge and thinking what's happening around this vast world, selfish motives of godless few and their misinformation drive, need of knowing what Divine messages suggests or convey on the subject comes very handy to know the truth.

    Although these messages can be easily put down, giving various reasons by selfish who do not want hear them or follow them as they bring out their darkside open or expose them, so things remaining hidden or one can not come to a conclusion and it leads to more delay in finding a suitable solution.

    Following excerpts of recent prophetic Divine message clearly warns us what is coming or in plans, why and how to overcome. For detailed message link as follows,

    "Viruses and pandemics will continue to hit and decimate humanity for a time. The conspiracies of the Elites, Media and International Organizations will lead humanity into longer confinements"


Leave a Comment

Title: Challenges of Online Education during COVID19

You have 2000 characters left.


Please write your correct name and email address. Kindly do not post any personal, abusive, defamatory, infringing, obscene, indecent, discriminatory or unlawful or similar comments. will not be responsible for any defamatory message posted under this article.

Please note that sending false messages to insult, defame, intimidate, mislead or deceive people or to intentionally cause public disorder is punishable under law. It is obligatory on Daijiworld to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments, to the authority concerned upon request.

Hence, sending offensive comments using daijiworld will be purely at your own risk, and in no way will be held responsible.