Kathmandu: As the cases of coronavirus started growing rapidly again, the government has decided to close schools nationwide. The nationwide closure of schools has made the teachers and students migrate to online classes again. Online classes have now become a tried and tested mode of teaching. Academic institutions even held exams and admission procedures virtually.
Online classes, however, haven’t been reckoned as an effective mode of pedagogy. Teachers, students, and guardians all are dissatisfied with the way online classes run.
Even educationalists agree that online classes in Nepal have not turned out to be as productive as they could have. Because it was a new practice, teachers and students both were in want of training, and the digital divide denied a significant chunk of students from attending virtual classes.
“Nobody has taken initiative for its improvement, neither schools and universities, nor the government,” said educationalist Balchandra Luitel, Professor and Dean at School of Education, Kathmandu University. “They ignored its possibilities, considering it as an uneasy and impractical educational practice. There must be consistency, especially if it is a new practice.”
To make online classes effective, there should be a well-functioning internet service all over the country and teachers should be trained on online pedagogy.
But online classes are not going to stop anytime soon, as the third wave shows no sign of subsiding yet. So, in this regard, online classes must be made effective, otherwise, it will greatly affect the entire education system, Luitel warned.
He has some recommendations. To make online classes effective, the curriculum should be revised while developing materials designed for online classes.
“The Ministry of Education could have already developed a material for online education,” Luitel lamented. “But they might have thought that the online classes will not resume in the future and so they did not work on it.”
To make online classes effective, there should be a well-functioning internet service all over the country and teachers should be trained on online pedagogy. “It could take time, but there must be consistency from everyone in the academic sector, government, and other concerned bodies,” Luitel said.
Laxman Gnawali, another educationist who is a professor and chairperson of the School Management Committee, Kathmandu University, also agrees with Luitel regarding requisites needed to make online classes further effective.
“Many developed countries have already revised curriculum focusing on making online classes productive,” Gnawali noted, adding that academic institutions should limit the screen time of the students.
“An online class should not go for long hours and in the middle, it also needs a break. If the classes are conducted online, then the teachers should avoid giving homework that needs to be done on computer devices,” Gnawali said. “Moreover, parents should also monitor the class and their child to examine whether online classes are effective or not.”