Education in Post-Pandemic India: Online or In-Person?
When the global pandemic hit in early 2020, educators and students alike were unprepared for the new modus operandi – digital learning. There was reluctance and apprehension surrounding this change. In mid-2021 however, talks about reopening schools have started making the rounds, and a stark change in views can be observed. According to Science Forum, at least 70% of students interviewed in 2021, preferred online schooling. The digital mode of education allows students to exercise more choice. This is because the sudden novelty of online-education required that both teachers and students learn as they go, requiring feedback from each other. In this process, students got a chance to voice their own thoughts and views, which was lacking previously. However, the post-pandemic education system is far from inclusive – those without access to internet or adequate devices, have faced challenging times. Yet, paradoxically this challenge has motivated more digital accessibility. The Education and Development Forum has found that over 11% of rural families have made a new smart phone purchase in the past year. A shift back to in-person education would indeed be difficult for everyone to cope with initially, but would foster better emotional and mental health among young students who have been isolated from their peers for far too long. Perhaps they simply need a reminder about how fun school could really be!