Online classes create disparity between haves and haves not
Many schools and colleges in the cities of Nepal are engaging/teaching their students via virtual or online classes these days. Actually, this condition was created by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 is terrifying the people across the world, educators in Nepal are creating a parallel panic in the name of online classes.
Virtual class or online education is not bad in itself but depends on the prosperity of a country. Certainly, online classes in the developed countries like the US, China, Japan, Australia and other European countries will be effective and fruitful. But, in context of Nepal, neither are people well familiar with new technology nor they enjoy such facilities. Even in some developed cities, phone networks hardly work. We should, first, check the ground reality before launching online classes.
In fact, we are creating a big disparity between haves and haves not in the name of virtual classes. The elite who have the access to information technology are boastful that their children are attending online classes and the so-called educators also are realizing that they have continued the academic session by offering virtual classes. The online classes, more or less, will be effective for lectures but no results can be drawn for practical subjects like accountancy and mathematics. Now, I can’t imagine how junior kids attend this class. We advocate for equality. Why then are we creating this disparity between the privileged and the underprivileged? Shouldn’t we ponder upon it? Are we doing it for cheap goodwill or for imparting quality education? Who will answer this question?
People at the moment are going through the shortage of foodstuffs and fuel. But what our so-called educators are urging them is to buy data pack and make an access for their children to attend online classes. Isn’t this injustice? Even most of the parents with little kids are not familiar with the new information technology. If you really want and can, help them with some fuel and food stuffs for their livelihood. No sky will fall and no earth will collapse if the students do not attend formal classes for few months.
The weirdest thing is that the educators say is that they worry about their students’ future. We are not being able to combat this terrible present and they are worrying about the future. John Hult in his essay ‘School is Bad for Children’ (1969) deals with hazards of formal education and presents schools like jails. Then, why, again, are we running after this formal education provided by schools and colleges. It doesn’t mean that we should completely discard formal education, but should largely be reformed to enhance potentials that are hidden in an individual.
Our education system is deeply rooted in unfair competition. In the name of exams and marks, we do not really teach the children to help other fellow students. They never have the feeling to go ahead together sharing the things. The children carry the same concept in the later stages of their life. They become educators and they are now the product of same education system which believes in unfair competition and showing off. Children should be taught and that show-off doesn’t last long. Reality is, later or sooner, revealed.
We blindly believe in formal education, the certificate, the marks, the division and the position but we achieve a little knowledge from it; rest of the wisdom lies somewhere else. Even the knowledge we get via formal education is just imitation. We teach the child to imitate. We never encourage them to create. Creation is always beautiful and the real happiness lies in it.
Even the great personalities of the world who never attended formal education have become the most successful and influential figures among us. Sir Issac Newton, mathematician, physicist, astronomer theologian, and author did poorly in school. He was even removed from school but he became famous for Newton’s Law of Motion. Similarly, Thomas Edison attended school for only a few months but is popularly known as the inventor of the electric bulb. William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s greatest dramatist never attended university. So, only the formal education doesn’t lead an individual to success. Intuition in human is the key that leads one to achieve greater things in life.
Now, this is the opportunity to change the entire education system. Are our children happy to go to school or taking online classes? Have parents and so-called educators ever thought about it? No, because they are the products of the same education system. Those who claim themselves as educators should make education inclusive and accessible. Then only can we succeed in achieving the goal of “Education for All”. Education should bring positive and sustainable change in individuals’ life. So, all the children should have equal access to virtual class. Otherwise, it should be immediately stopped.
The writer is a Lecturer at Gyanjkung College, Kathmandu.
Published on 24 May 2020