Online and offline education need to co-exist in the modern world

1 month ago

Online and offline education both have their pros and cons.

There could be several permutations and combinations for online and offline education to cofunction.

By Sunit Gajbhiye

The emergence of online education is being hailed as a game-changing revolution in the education sector. It has not only helped in the continuation of education during the times of Covid-19, but also helped in bringing several new ideas and innovations into the sector. Besides all this, it has been instrumental in raising the quality of education in the rural and remote areas of the country. It is also ensuring the affordability of education and bringing the convenience factor which further stimulates the faster adoption.

Overwhelmed by the fast pace adoption of online education in the past 18 months, many industry personnel have started recommending the total replacement of offline education with online. Aren’t we thinking too much ahead of ourselves?

Online education has undoubtedly contributed heavily to the continuum of education during the lockdown; however, one would agree that education is much more than just the lessons in books. The real purpose of education is the wholesome development of individuals. Online teaching provides a technological backbone to the education system, latest technologies, quality, affordability, convenience, and reach. However, it lacks the human touch. In schools, students not only interact personally with their teachers but also with fellow students and support staff. This allows them to inculcate soft skills which are instrumental for overall personality development. Students learn discipline, teamwork, public interaction, gender sensitivity, empathy, and many other such things during their time in school. Without these skills, one cannot develop into a complete individual. Online education may also have limitations about catering to the needs of differently-abled students who need extra attention and care.

Also, there have been several reports and researches on the mental impact of isolation-induced by online education on children. The growing age requires kids to also develop various soft skills and interpersonal skills that cannot be acquired merely through the online format of the education delivery system. Plus, the stage fear and other physical development through an offline Institutional model of education build the overall personality of the child.

The Covid-19 outbreak which led to the sequential lockdowns has highlighted the importance of online format in sustaining the education. The entire education engine had come to a halt which got some lubrication from online education in ensuring the movement. However, online education is also not free from risks. The threat of technological disruptions and cyber crimes always looms on anything connected to the internet. Therefore, it would not be wise enough to depend on online education, and offline education must always remain in existence.

Online education has its benefits, but it cannot fully replace the offline education system. For the holistic success of the education system, both online and offline education must coexist. The two need to complement each other rather than compete against each other. The education sector needs to devise ways for the co-existence of the two.

There could be several permutations and combinations for online and offline education to cofunction. Educational institutions can combine online and offline education during regular educational sessions. Some subjects can be taught offline, while a few can be taught online. This way, students will have to spend less time in school and learn some lessons from home. Another option could be providing offline education for younger students and the gradual introduction of online education as they grow older. This way offline education will help build the personality and character of the students by imparting soft skills to them at a younger age and also gradually introducing them to technology without overwhelming them with information.

Online and offline education both have their pros and cons. Offline education has existed for thousands of years. It has been largely successful in providing education and building the personalities of the students. The advent of online education has opened new avenues for the education sector to grow. It has made education more interesting, easier and removed the boundaries of time and distance. The technology has added to the efficacy and is becoming an indispensable organ of the education ecosystem. However, it cannot replace offline education. The evolution of Human resources globally requires multiple drivers to confederate where the two online and offline collectively have a defining role to play to achieve the complete goal of education. The co-existence of online and offline education will generate synergies and take the education sector to a level never imagined before.

(The author is Chief Business Officer, Financepeer. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position and policy of Financial Express Online.)

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