We are students, we come from a diverse background. We have friends who have almost everything which one can buy, but we also have friends who do their livelihood on their own. Though, we never complained because we believed that our day may come, as said: “If you are born poor it is not your fault, but if you die poor it is.”
With the ongoing technology, our generation is also going parallel. We have been accessing almost everything via our fingertip. We can virtually do almost everything from the place where we currently are, which I don’t think it is necessary to elaborate as we all know the advantages. As said, nothing comes for free, we must pay for these facilities in order to access it.
The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID19) has brought global pandemic along with it. It has affected almost every sector of humankind. I would like to be more specific to the topic of this article from now on.
Nowadays, the trend of online classes is going on at full pace. All those who are accessible to good internet connectivity is taking full advantage of it, but with advantage also comes disadvantage nature itself is symmetrical. We all know that India as a whole is a developing country still since most of the places are rural areas. Talking about Sikkim, everyone knows it for its natural essence. We have a huge number of educational institutions inside this state be it government or private. Students from all corners of the state are accessible to schools or colleges. Especially, students are mostly from villages who come to places like Gangtok, Namchi, etc to pursue their Higher Education courses. They are those youths who feel the pressure of monthly room rents, food requirements, stationery, etc. Many have been able to manage somehow on their own, which is a motivation for us all youngsters.
In this pandemic situation almost, all institutions have come up with online classes, even the Higher Education governing body University Grants Commission (UGC) has suggested for online mode of education for time being. It is indeed a positive approach to connect all students who are away from classes. But, this mode of education is not feasible for all general students. Especially, those in villages are not having smooth internet access. Many even don’t have a smartphone. Even I used Google Classroom once here in Gangtok, but the internet was so poor that I quit using it and now I am depending upon the PDF of notes. This has happened to many of us. Nowadays, even the students are giving their presentations online, I mean how will this be possible to those who are in villages or are having weak internet connection. Those who have access to good speed internet connection they will do it but what about the others?
Many students are complaining that teachers are in a hurry to complete their syllabus and the workload for students is increasing day by day. This way we are degrading the education quality instead of improving it. Online classes would have been much better if some initiative was taken by the state authorities to improve the internet facility within the state by taking aid from different network providers. They could have provided WIFI facility in our locality under surveillance so that we all could have a good and free internet connection at least during online classes hours.
The online mode of Education is not favourable to all the students as of now and is evident to almost all of the students by now. So, the concerned department should take some necessary initiative in order to come up with some solution or else this mode of education won’t be a success. The teachers should not ask for video presentations from all the students since all don’t have good internet facility at their home. Instead, teachers should understand that in this situation all students may not even see a single message, in-class group. So, expecting huge assignments from them would be worthless. This way if the teachers grade the students then I guess the toppers will come last in the class.
At last a suggestion to the Education Department, GOS that they should initiate some WIFI facility in GPU level at least during class hours which will cover almost all villages. And teachers should give some more time for students to complete their assignments and they should avoid video presentation at this moment.
Hope you all are safe, thanks to the frontline workers.
Writer: Nishant Chettri. He is the General Secretary of Sikkim University Students’ Association.