Online hurdles

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/11/2021 12:17:46 PM IST

 As students brace themselves up to appear for online exams - which would define the course of their future- with poor internet connectivity and incomplete syllabus, it may be unfair to expect too much out of the online option. Therefore, when educational and other institutions decided to hold examinations through online due to various compulsions that the COVID-19 pandemic had brought; several issues have also come up with regard to the pros and cons of online exams. One of the common complaint from students including academicians was over poor internet speed and connectivity. It is a fact that in Nagaland, even mobile connectivity is an issue and invariably this also compounds internet speed. Internet connectivity is still a huge problem in rural and remote areas. In the case of a concurrent number of exams, internet connectivity can be a huge challenge for the smooth flow and execution of the online exam. Not to talk about far flung districts, particularly villages, the internet connectivity leaves much to be desired. Even while online classes were being conducted, the slow internet speed had posed severe problems for online classes. Many students found it very challenging to download study material during classes due to slow internet speed. Many students were not able to take part in online classes and hence could not cover the entire syllabus. The COVID-19 pandemic has also thrown up serious challenges on the poor sections of society. As reported earlier in this newspaper, families from poor economic background were hardest hit by online classes. To participate in online classes, the user has to have a smart phone mobile. This is more expensive than the normal mobile phone. If a family belonging to the lower economic strata has two or more children then they would have to take turns to use the mobile. The cheapest smart phone with adequate facilities costs not less than Rupees six thousand and more. Many parents had to learn how to use mobile apps such as downloading then taking pictures before uploading etc. Children who are economically better off could afford the best of smart phones, laptops etc and so enjoy a big advantage. The online examination presumes that everybody has good quality smart phones with apps and laptops, even if it was not so. Teachers say the notion of online examination is against the basic inclusive soul of the education, which talks about uniform education for children coming from different regions and sections across the country. The online examination will benefit those children who have the benefit of technology, who live in the cities and metros and have adequate resources, including reading material. However, those children who will be left behind will be those who come from the backward areas and sections. Online examinations are at best futile exercises since it allows users to impersonate a candidate. This would probably pass through the system as there will likely be no physical authentication of candidates in the examination center. There is also possibility of sudden disruption of exams due to network failure or power outage. In such a case, if the system is not designed with that in view, it becomes a problem for continuity of the exam. In the end, the solution through online system makes more technological and less academic sense.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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