The lockdown following the global outbreak of the novel Coronavirus has led to drastic changes in the education sector. The country-wide shutdown of schools, colleges and other educational institutions leaves the sector with no choice other than commencing e-learning for the continuation of studies. E-learning means learning over the internet. Different forums such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Team, et cetera are being used to conduct classes for all school and college-going students. In a country like India, which has such high poverty rates, this new system of e-learning seems quite elitist. For attending these classes, all teachers and students must have a smartphone, a proper internet connection as the classes go on for hours and a suitable place where they can teach and learn without disturbances. However, all of this seems difficult if not impossible for students of poor families, residents of remote areas, and those who have crowded homes. Neither students nor teachers were prepared to face such issues, thus, due to the lack of preparation and proper infrastructure, the education sector has become inefficient.
With the onset of the unexpected global pandemic and subsequent switch to e-learning, teachers had to face many problems. They were expected to learn and adapt to new technology and use it effectively to teach. Doing household chores along with teaching online proved tough for many teachers. Everything they did in school while being face-to-face with students, from taking attendance to conducting exams, they now have to do it digitally. They are also facing harassment in their online classrooms as students feel free to abuse them by sending inappropriate texts and disrupting the class in many other ways while hiding behind their computers. Teachers of the elementary section have problems in teaching, engaging and disciplining the young kids. In these tough times, their income has either been reduced or delayed while their work has only increased. All these factors clubbed together have negatively affected the mental health of teachers.
Students are missing precious classes which will affect their curriculum in the long run. E-learning cannot replace the traditional way of schooling. Many students do not have their own smartphones or laptops so that they can join online classes on a daily basis as well as a proper internet connection. Those who do, face other problems such as lack of motivation to study, inability to properly engage in the classroom, feeling uncertain about the future and many more. They feel isolated as their routine of attending school regularly has been disrupted and they have been unable to meet their friends for a long time. With the blade of all these pressures hanging on their necks, students are battling many mental health problems.
Due to all the issues of e-learning, the quality of education is worsening. The sudden changes are more than what the education sector can cope with at such times. It would be highly irresponsible and life-threatening to open educational institutions amid the coronavirus outbreak. Thus, all we can do is try to help the people around us and hope that the world successfully finds a cure for COVID-19 at the earliest.