The COVID-19 crisis is still not over as the world is eagerly waiting for the vaccines to be rolled out. The education systems of the world had no other option but to take their offices and classrooms online. The online education trend had just begun all over the globe with the introduction of the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which were offered by top universities and institutions of the world. This created and opened a new market which also made education from such reputable institutes accessible for all at cheaper prices which is good but after all of this, a question still arises which is, how much of ‘this education’ can be shifted to the online mode?
Of course, online education has its pros but according to me, there are many cons which outweigh the pros as far as completing a substantial amount of education is concerned. Many fields such as medicine, law, engineering, pure sciences, journalism, architecture, design and even business need the classroom environment and labs to really understand the concepts well and practically apply the theoretical bases which are then going to be used once the student enters into the corporate world. Networking, meeting with new people, sharing values and experiences, practically doing stuff, failing and getting up again will all be skipped with the online models of education.
Small skill based courses can be taught online but the application part, not so. Stuff like marketing, programming or design can be learnt online but then what about the other numerous courses and their aligning aspects? The problem lies here, plus many researches conducted all across have revealed that online lectures lead to extra fatigue and could eventually lead to more health issues. Humans need that physical and real-life based face-to-face contact to better understand each other and the surroundings around. This is not the way in which we can function for much longer because our bodies are designed to work, walk, run and communicate as we are ultimately social animals.
Education is not just about learning and memorizing facts, but it is about the holistic development of a student and the online pattern is indeed focusing upon the former aspect itself. If this pattern continues, eventually we will have great brains but not great minds. A good mind is developed with continuous practice, patience and a deeper understanding of the self and the environment around. Essential skills to live life cannot be taught by sitting in front of a computer cause one has to experience a few things first hand to gain insights into the matter.
With this online process, graduates shall be produced but we cannot expect conscious and thoughtful individuals which could then work on the solutions which we a species is grappling with. Even essential job required skills cannot be learnt in this mode which I am fearing that could lead to more unemployment especially in developing nations like India where already the education system is not doing its part rightly.
While I understand that a vast amount of knowledge and education can be imparted using the online resources but then as far as a long term outlook is concerned, the cons easily outweigh the pros. Thus, I just hope that this is considered as a temporary solution for the in-person classroom teaching mode and that we slowly change the existing systems to collaborate and create individuals who would then work for the betterment of mankind.