By ARUN PRATAP SINGH
DEHRADUN, 11 Apr: Minister of State for Higher Education (Independent Charge) Dr Dhan Singh Rawat today issued instructions to all VCs and Heads of Institutions to start online classes in the state during the lockdown period ensuing because of Corona pandemic. Higher education minister held talks with all the vice chancellors of the state today. He said that the lockdown has resulted in several problems for the students and their studies have got badly affected due to the lockdown. Higher Education Minister said that keeping in mind the interests of students, instructions have been given for arranging online classes from the university level. For this, he directed the Vice Chancellors of all universities to arrange online classes soon. He said that with the introduction of online classes, students would benefit and students would be able to utilise the lockdown period. At the same time, he told that students could use different modes for online classes. Students could also study through EduSet as well as through various apps approved by the Government of India.
Further, the government had also issued orders to all the VCs, Registrars and heads of the institutions to ensure payment of salaries to all teaching, non teaching staff and outsourced staff and issued warning of strict action against them if they failed to comply with the directions.
The question however remains how can online classes substitute the regular classes. There are many professional degree courses in which conducting online classes will not prove to be such an easy task. There are many courses in which there is a regular need for interaction between teacher and learners. Now since it is decided that higher education institutes in the country will remain closed till at least May 15, teachers will have to prepare for online classes. It remains to be seen how far it will be practical for each course. Besides this there are several science and technical subjects that require practical classes in laboratories and therefore online classes will have limited utility in these courses. Yet another question is the fact that not all the students have access to regular internet services or access to laptops or computers at home. If the online classes start, these students will be at a disadvantage as compared to more privileged students. So, it would not be fair to them, if the online classes are treated as substitute to regular classes.