The year 2020 changed everything in education in India when every member of the education system had to embrace the digital mode of teaching or learning. While enough has been said about the lack of student access to online education, the digital barrier that teachers have had to overcome was not often mentioned. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced teachers to stop physical classes and switch to online education while being ill-prepared for change.
According to an online survey conducted by Learning Spiral, earlier this year, 84% of teachers said they faced problems delivering education through digital media, The Hindu reported.
Lack of qualified teachers
The shift from physical classes to online learning has highlighted just how prepared teachers are to teach online. According to UDISE 2019-20, only one in four teachers in India has been trained to use a computer for teaching, according to a report published by The Hindu. The ratio is even lower for teachers in the country’s public schools.
According to the UDISE survey compiled by The Hindu, in public schools, only 15 percent of teachers have been trained to use a computer for teaching purposes. Although the share was relatively higher among teachers in public and private schools, the percentage of teachers trained in computer use was still 30% and 31%, respectively. The data also highlighted that the share of teachers trained for online courses was lowest at pre-primary and primary levels.
Comparison between states
The survey reported in The Hindu mentioned that in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha, only 3% of teachers in public schools were trained to teach with a computer. While, in states like Punjab, Maharashtra, and Gujarat, the share is over 50 percent, with Maharashtra reaching 64 percent in this category. For most states, the percentage of trained teachers was higher in private schools than in public schools. The difference in the proportion of trained teachers between public and private schools was 30% or more in states such as Jharkhand, Goa, Karnataka and Haryana. However, Goa had the highest share of trained teachers in all categories – 69 percent.
Five of the seven northeastern states, namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur, had the lowest overall share of teachers trained in computer use.
Poor student-teacher ratio
Besides the disturbing percentages of computer-trained teachers, the student-teacher ratio in various states across our country is also concerning, reported The Hindu. According to the Department of Education, the ideal student-teacher balance should be around 30: 1. However, the ratio was over 40: 1 in upper secondary schools in Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and UP. Bihar had a ratio of over 50: 1 for primary, secondary and upper secondary classes.
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