Nepal | July 05, 2020

COVID-19 outbreak and professional education: Shifting from physical to virtual classes

Rigma Paudel
Share Now:

In early March, I was in Melbourne, reading a book on a beach on a warm sunny day. It was strange that there were very few people there. While returning to the university from the beach, I noticed that people were wearing masks on the tram, and there were very few students attending classes. It came to my realisation that people were becoming very cautious because of the increasing risk of COVID-19. Currently, I am in Kathmandu with my family in Nepal because of the current crisis, but continuing my classes with Deakin University, Melbourne and appearing in the university examinations online. I am sure that there are many cases like this.

The COVID-19 outbreak has created a catastrophic existential health crisis. Inherently it has rooted impact on the way we perceive the world and functioning of our daily lifestyle, including education. Coping with the crisis has become the new norm.

The increasing risk of COVID-19 has resulted in educational institutions – schools, colleges and universities – shutting down across the globe. This has given a rise to a perceptible and drastic increase in e-learning. Teaching is being undertaken remotely and delivered through digital platforms. A large number of educational institutions are implementing a distance learning approach. They are connecting students and teachers through online platforms and tools like Zoom and Microsoft teams.

E-learning can be extremely beneficial as it is instantly accessible and has flexible scheduling. Tools like video conferencing systems, which promote interaction between teachers and students, are used by resourceful universities and colleges. Teachers can use virtual classrooms to teach from home, which renders online sessions to be as effective as the traditional face-to-face classes.

They also offer a great deal of content, interaction, reinforcement and frequent feedback during online sessions. Online learning also allows students to study 24/7 and work at their own pace. For example, a student attending university in Australia can access their lectures through their digital cloud portal at any convenient time and study at their own pace from Nepal.

Given the uncertainty and less possibility of a vaccine for COVID-19 to be available in the next couple of years for a developing country like Nepal, this is a good time to transform the traditional education system to a more digital one and equip our teaching faculties. Nepal could adopt the online learning system as other countries in the world and accept a competitive education system.

It is crucial to accept the change and mould the decisions as per the situation. To serve the students affected by closures of educational institutions across Nepal, the Ministry of Education and especially Tribhuvan University should encourage educational institutions to adopt distance learning, especially for higher degree education and professional courses.

Distance learning methods become even more relevant for a country like ours where many youths have to migrate to the cities and abroad for quality education. There is a debate in the political circle that distance educations will create disparity among the students, between those who can and cannot afford a computer and internet facility. But the fact is that it is economical and fills the gap among the students of different classes, backgrounds and geography if provided with equal access.

Educational institutions in Nepal could work intensively through the portal of electronic communication. An educational portal connects students, educators and school administration effectively. Educational institutions should organise online learning and support to their respective students. There are online assessments for examinations, and institutions should apply appropriate technical solutions to ensure student identification in order to monitor their behaviour and work of the students during the examinations.

Advances in the digital world now allow students to study entirely online while still having the same kind of ambiance, interacting with your classmates, attending lectures and seminars. Distance learning does require a huge level of self-motivation, so educational institutions should ensure that their respective students receive the same level of support through the online platform as they would receive studying on campus.

I believe the pandemic will not only change the existing world order, rather it will change much of our behaviours that we were used to. So, towards the journey of change and living with the new normal, we have to be ready to accept the change.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Locusts devour crops on 1,100 hectares

KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Desert locusts have damaged crops cultivated on 1,100 hectares of land across the country. According to the Locusts Information Centre, eight districts have reported damage caused by locusts till date. Of them, Dang is the worst hit and Palpa the least. The locusts devoure Read More...

World Bank elevates Nepal to ‘lower middle income economy’

Country saw its GNI per capita rise to $1,090 in 2019, but economists says it doesn’t mean much in terms of development KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Nepal is now officially a lower-middle income country, an upgrade from its previous status as low income nation, according to the World Bank’s latest coun Read More...

Oli, Dahal in bid to save NCP unity

If the two co-chairs fail to act as per the spirit of the party unity document, maintaining party unity will be difficult  - NCP leader Mani Thapa KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) — Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli — held talks for thr Read More...

Kailali's Bhajani Municipality, Joshipur Rural Municipality inundated

KAILALI, JULY 3 Bhajani and Joshipur of Kailali have been inundated after floodwaters gushed into the settlements. According to eyewitnesses, many houses in Wards 2, 3, 6 and 8 of Bhajani Municipality have been inundated. Local Ganga Chaudhary said floodwaters from local Kandra and Kadha ri Read More...

Ministry develops guidelines for rehab centres

KATHMANDU, JULY 3 The Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens has developed guidelines for operation of rehabilitation centres to ensure that vulnerable persons at the centres do not contract COVID-19. MoWCSC said the new guidelines would be effective until Nepal was declared coronavir Read More...

Nepali Congress Ram Chandra Paudel

Country pushed into crisis: Paudel

DAMAULI, JULY 3 Senior Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel said sudden prorogation of the Parliament was unfortunate for the nation. “At a time when the nation is fighting a deadly disease, the decision to prorogue the Parliament has pushed the country further into the crisis,” said t Read More...

Holding centre in Khotang

KHOTANG, JULY 3 A 10-bed holding centre has been established in Diktel, the district headquarters of Khotang, for returnees. According to Chief District Officer and District COVID-19 Crisis Management Centre coordinator Shaligram Sharma Poudel, Nepali Army personnel and Red Cross staff jointly Read More...

Visit Nepal 2020 mascot, yeti

Former Visit Nepal secretariat seeks more budget from Tourism Ministry

KATHMANDU, JULY 3 Even after the government has scrapped the secretariat of the Visit Nepal 2020 campaign, the secretariat has submitted more unpaid bills to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). Addressing a press meet today to unveil the ministry’s work progress dur Read More...