Online education during COVID-19: VP calls for bridging digital divide

Online education during COVID-19: VP calls for bridging digital divide
Source: Wikimedia Commons Press Trust of India | Jun 30, 2020 - 7:49 p.m. IST
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New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday called for bridging the digital divide to achieve universal primary education and ensure equitable secondary and higher education for students.

His remarks come in the backdrop of several students facing problems attending online classes.

Schools across the country are shut as per guidelines issued by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Releasing a book through video conference, Naidu stressed on the need to make technology accessible and affordable and pointed out that there were many children who did not have access to digital devices.

"We will have to address the issue of this wide gap," he said according to a statement.

The vice president pointed out that a large number of students have been impacted due to the lockdown as they found it hard to study online.

Many of them need hand holding to shift from offline to online and require proper training to pursue education through online modes, Naidu said, adding that several parents in India still cannot afford digital devices.

Bridging the divide

Bridging the digital divide is too big and complex for the government alone to accomplish, Naidu said urging the private sector, especially educational technology firms, to bring products at affordable prices as per the needs of learners.

"This is your time to make a momentous contribution to nation-building and to securing a bright future for all our children," he said.

Quoting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the vice president said that in the future "online should be mainline so that there is no need for any line".

With educational institutions going digital due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Naidu said students and teachers were connecting through cloud-based platforms to communicate, share work, and complete projects.

Urging teachers to impart teaching in tune with the changing requirements, the vice president said students can access machines anytime from anywhere in the wake of online laboratories.

“The teacher now plays the role of a facilitator, guide, coach, and many a time that of a friend to the student”, he observed.

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