District administrations should make arrangements to allow college students from rural areas to make use of computers available in nearby government or other high schools to ensure access to online learning for all, as per the forum of former Vice-Chancellors of Karnataka (FVCK).
The recommendation to the state government came in the backdrop of both the central and state governments asking universities, colleges and other educational institutions to complete the academic year online after the lockdown was extended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Such arrangements at schools surrounding rural areas can be made keeping in mind the adherence to the required social distancing. The availability of strong phone connectivity and good quality mobile phones among students from underprivileged backgrounds, especially from rural areas are doubtful.”
“Even if these are available to some, effective participation in an interactive online lesson will be challenging as reading materials shared on a small screen would be difficult to view without a computer screen,” P Venkataramaiah, former VC of Kuvempu University and an executive member of FVCK commented.
‘Redesign schedule for science students’
The forum also recommended that the academic schedule post-lockdown for science students should be tweaked to ensure they get sufficient practical classes to carry out experimental learning. “Even if theory classes are offered using online methods during lockdown days, science students will lack practical experience, which is an important component of their learning and curriculum,” Dr RN Srinivas Gowda, FVCK secretary pointed out.
He added that varsities should plan to conduct exclusive practical classes for a duration of one month after the lockdown period before conducting examinations.
The forum of the former vice-chancellors of Karnataka further suggested that the unprecedented long vacation due to the enforcement of lockdown measures can be used as a window for varsities to introspect on teaching and evaluation systems being followed at present.
“The Karnataka State Higher Education Council established to look into the quality of Higher Education in the state should take an initiative in all these matters,” the FVCK statement read.
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