ICT and Education During Covid-19 in India

When the whole world is facing a pandemic situation and it affected every single sector of the world. And it has impacted the educational sector tremendously. Every single educational institutions is closed and we don’t have a choice. As a result globally, over 1.2 billion children were out of the classroom. In India, according to a UNICEF report, “School closures have impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary education and 28 million children enrolled in pre-schools and Anganwadi centers. This is in addition to the more than 6 million girls and boys who were already out of school before the COVID-19 crisis”, the report mentioned. ICT appears as a bridge to break the distance and survive the learning i.e, the gap which was created by lockdown between teachers and learners has been filled with the help of ICT.

Due to this Covid-19, every educational institution and pandemic forced the sector to shift to a virtual and blended mode of learning. Because this was the only way to continue the education. Initially some problems were faced by students as well as teachers. Because suddenly they have to shift in a totally different situation than earlier and many teachers and institutions were not trained and equipped adequately to shift to online teaching. Hence, they give their best and learn new skills in such difficult times. And gradually they adopted and teaching-learning process continued.

ICT initiatives for continuing the Learning Process

In the era of digitalization ICT is necessary in every aspects of life. It stands for Information, Communication and Technology. These three words have different meaning but collectively ICT becomes a part and parcel of human being. With the help of ICT Educational Institutions have been using various platforms like Google Classrooms, Microsoft Team, Zoom, Google Meeting and many more to continue the process of learning for students amid pandemics. Techers also provide e-content to students for better learning.

National level ICT initiatives

To address the challenges of learning, the Ministry of Education has undertaken several initiatives to assist students and educators. Some initiatives used which already exists digital platform like DIKSHA(Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing), e-Pathshala, NROER(National Repository of Open Educational Resources). These were used extensively for supporting the learners and teachers across the country with educational resources and relevant trainings. ICT tools like T.V( Swayam Prabha TV channels), Radio(All India Radio) helped the government to reach a larger number of target audiences. Various states also adapted initiatives to provide the necessary resources. For example

Chhattisgarh’ Education at Your Doorstep(Padhai Tuhar Duar) Initiative:– It is a portal to tackle the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the education sector. It aimed to provide the platform to connect the teachers and learners by providing access to good quality educational content from comfort of their homes. It has a mix resources like Live classes, Offline Video Lectures, Animations, Podcasts etc.

Kerala- KITE Initiatives:- The state government launched virtual classes through Kerala Infrastructure and Technology for Education which was launched in 2005. During the difficult times of Covid-19, the state has been effectively using technology to ensure continuous learning and embodied their slogans “Physical Distance and Social Utility into Practice.” and many more initiatives by central and state government.

Individual Initiatives

Initiatives by various profit, non-profit organizations, and individuals have been incredible force behind the effort to use technology to make learning possible to many learners. Some initiatives in India like Smarter ED Platform(it is an initiative by Lenevo in collaboration with Vidayalaya(a non-profit organization) that connects volunteer teachers and learners.) and Digital Daan. Individual efforts of teacher to reach every student to continue their learning has been also incredible during this pandemic situation. One such teacher is Ritika Tomar from Sonbhadra ,UP has come up with the solution to provide necessary information to her students. she divides her students into two groups one having smartphones and other having simple cell phones. she used WhatsApp and message services to reach out tob both groups respectively. Her efforts helped the available ICT iniciatives to reach her students in the best possible way. Few teachers in rural areas teaches their students following the protocols of social distancing using Loudspeakers. In this way lot of teachers have explored and used ICT tools to teach their students in the pandemic.

Thus it can be said that ICT has proved itself as a boon to education in the pandemic situation . Education sector has been impacted tremendously especially in India. technological innovation in the sector have made it possible to overcome the situation due to the crisis. The importance of e-learning has been realized and it has been acknowledged by educational communities. We can say that the era of e-learning has been started due to this pandemic. In post pandemic world to this ICT can be used in blended mode of learning.