Motia Mannan has been working as an English Lecturer for 12 years at Rajapur Degree college Belkuchi Shirajgong Bangladesh.
COVID-19 and E-Learning in Bangladesh
E-learning is the process through which knowledge can be shared by using several channels such as e-books, CDs, webinars, etc. It has brought a revolutionary change in teaching methods based on the traditional classroom. Due to Covid-19, the traditional education system has been changed dramatically. Now, over 1.2 billion students across the globe are out of the standard classroom teaching system. As a result, we have observed the rise of e-learning. Education is a continuous process that never is static. During these quarantine days, e-learning may be a positive alternative option to delaying education. However, some so-called platforms of distance learning are merely used to share lectures, documents, and videos. These are not helpful for attaining the goals of education. In Bangladesh, the present scenario of learning is pretty depressing. It is a mammoth task for a poor country like Bangladesh to successfully implement e-learning technologies.
Economic and Personal Factors Affecting E-Learning in Bangladesh
School is a hub where one can squire skills and social knowledge in a fairly fun setting. Unfortunately, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 compelled us to close the educational institutions of Bangladesh beginning March 17th, 2020. Since then, it has been a demand on behalf of Bangladesh's private universities to continue the education process through distance learning. There are economic motivations behind this, as these institutions have to pay their teachers and staff privately. Additionally, there is a basic human aspect to this choice. Long educational sessions for students are not very helpful due to cognitive fatigue and attention span issues.
There are more reasons that e-learning is not very successful for the secondary, higher secondary, and tertiary levels of education in Bangladesh. E-learning requires students to, of course, receive education by using their computers or smartphones, which are supported by the internet. Most of the students in Bangladesh, however, do not have the ability to buy a computer or smartphone or even have internet access. Consequently, they have to drop out of education. It is an irony of fate that most of the adults in Bangladesh have become unemployed due to COVID-19. They can't bear their children's educational expenses. Many female students have become victims of premature marriage. Now many teachers of Non-MPO institutions are earning their livelihood as vendors or by cultivating agriculture. It is almost humorous to expect a successful e-learning education system in Bangladesh due to such poor economical conditions.
E-Learning Methodologies Need to Be Adopted
Moreover, the assessment of assignments is not praiseworthy. For pandemic situations, the e-learning teaching mode has been elaborately introduced. But we were not ready to face such an event with a specifically designed curriculum that suits the e-learning. The result is that most of our students have become passive learners who are losing attention and interest. Also, our teachers were not ready for this sudden transformation of teaching methodology. Who knows when COVID-19 will be controlled? After COVID-19, is it possible that other forms of coronavirus (perhaps COVID-20, 21, 22, etc.) might pay a visit to the world one by one?
To meet these challenges, we need a newly designed curriculum that can be sustained if another pandemic comes. Teachers should be trained specifically for such situations. To minimize the risk of losing students, authorities need to reexamine admission practices, admission criteria, and application processes. Smartphones with an internet connection may be a new tool to consider for e-learning methodologies. Under the philanthropy of the government, a smartphone set with a fixed package of the internet should be given to students to make their learning both possible and fruitful. Moreover, we should pay attention to the new format of blended learning which will encourage us to seek new ways to design and deliver quality content that will bring transparency to academic work. A new collaboration team should be formed to monetize the newly designed education system. Teachers can go to the suggested school/college commanding area once/twice a week and counsel students to make them understand that they are not isolated during this catastrophe.
If the Bangladesh government, the Education Ministry, the experts, and the University Grant Commission will act decisively and thoughtfully in their positions of authority, we can more smoothly go through other major transformations in general.
© 2021 Motia mannan