Ramakanta Biswas

“Online education has many positives like access, flexibility and continuity in education. Online learning and Ed-Tech companies will complement, but offline teaching will be the priority,” said Sabita Acharya, Vice-Chancellor of Utkal University on Saturday.

Acharya said this while taking part in a brainstorming session on ‘Impact of EdTech Companies on Traditional Education System’ at the 13th edition of OTV’s annual convention ‘Foresight 2023’.

“In National Education Policy 2020, emphasis has been given to online education or digitalisation of education system. During Covid-19 pandemic, it was realised that there should be digitalisation of the education system to ensure that students would not waste a valuable year. Subsequently, the Centre and the Odisha government introduced the online platform for the continuity of education,” Acharya said.  

“In my opinion, online education has definitely many positive impacts. Because, at any place, anywhere, students could access teaching. It is a great opportunity for the student community to continue their education,” she added.  

Acharya said the EdTech companies have helped the educational system which is a very welcoming approach. 

“In my opinion, EduTech, online teaching and learning are a welcoming system for the continuity of education. Offline education will be the priority always, but the online education is an alternative,” she observed.  

The VC further said that blended mode of education has been adopted now as per the recommendation of the new education policy wherein all classes have facility for the online education. Both online and offline education can be imparted in single classroom. 

Speaking about the online education system and EduTech, former NCERT Director Prof Hrusikesh Senapati said, “When we are talking about education, it is not just acquiring mastery over the content. It is the competence what we need in the 21st century.”

“ICT and online education are one of the mediums. It cannot replace teachers. That we should keep in mind. Because when we are talking about education, it is not only knowledge or content and textbooks. We have to go beyond textbooks and bring out change in students’ behaviour, attitude and feeling. For that we need teachers,” he said. 

Senapati said online education can provide supplement and knowledge and help students acquire mastery over the contents, but cannot replace teachers.    

“Now in a democratic country, we need spirit of collaboration, cooperation, fellow feeling, sharing and for that we need teacher,” he emphasised. 

Sabyasachi Rout, founder of Mathematics Cafe, echoed the same view and said online education can not completely replace the traditional education. 

“There are flexibility in online education system. You can get into an online course anytime you want to and from anywhere you want to. Online courses are also affordable and there is time effectiveness,” he said.   

“Online education, however, has its pitfalls. Not all subjects can be taught online. Besides, there are health hazards and increase in feeling of isolation,” he added.