2- Days Online Learning Virtual Conference ended successfully with a closing Remark by Mr. Ana Prasad Neupane, Joint Secretary, Department of Education Ministry of Education, Science & Technology.
Firstly, the Executive Director at Glocal Pvt. Ltd, Mr. Thakur summarized the whole conference regarding the discussion and views of experts on various topics in Online Learning.
Mr. Neupane explained about the present education system in Nepal. He explained when the lockdown started, that was the time when almost all school’s regular studies had ended. From Baisakh, the new academic session was to begin. But it got halted, due to the COVID pandemic. There come a crisis and the problems sometimes open room for new opportunities.
In this context, e-learning has been one alternative to continue the learning process. On this contrary, the Ministry of Education had defined 5 types of mediums & technology as an alternative for learning. Online learning, computer, laptop and Internet access, radio, television can be used as an alternative for learning. However, Internet & Network access is not everywhere available. Therefore, we have been discussing different alternative measures to ensure learning systematically.
With the past of decades, higher educational institutes were facing more challenges by the increasingly global, digital, and dynamic environment. There were certain barriers associated with E-learning these days and the core challenge is to overcome these barriers. In Nepal, there is no consistent technological development in all parts of the country. There are no online learning infrastructures, no phone, mobile, etc. While working for the right to education to all students, we are on the verge to prepare plans to make education accessible for all.
Virtual Learning is popular when it is two-way communication. One-way communication cannot be effective. Learning needs to have interaction; two-way communication. There should be discussion and planned ways of learning. So, the teaching-learning process as two-way communication is necessary.
He also explained that the government is trying to prepare learning materials, online systems, and processes via collaboration. They are trying to find out the ways to ensure effective interaction, fill the gaps between learners and mentors, ways to comply with the curriculum, and prepare feedback, assessment process as per the needs. Time management is another issue in online learning, so they are working to manage that as well.
He explained one of the biggest question marks in Online Learning is How to evaluate? How to give feedback and record? These things need to be decided. Teachers need to be trained. Everyone in this process needs to be wholeheartedly involved in the learning environment. Even though one finds online learning easier, needs to face several networking issues that we will address soon.
He added Online virtual learning can be tedious for students who escape this learning with negligence. Online learning teaching discipline, security issues are another major challenge. All children’s learning ability needs to be developed with the support of family and teachers. Individual evaluation and learning teaching process also need to be developed with interaction and guidelines.
Having said that Mr. Thakur added although online learning is vulnerable in Nepal, there can be several ways to improve this learning process. Firstly, it depends on students how strictly and honestly, they are learning utilizing resources in online learning. Certain guidelines for ensuring cybersecurity measures have been adopted and skilling in online learning can be made personalized. Online Learning, therefore, has lots of possibilities. There are lots of possibilities.
Despite numerous challenges in Online Learning, Government of Nepal has plans to address these issues. Mr. Neupane stated that challenges that arise can be overcome by ones who take the initiation. Cybersecurity can be strengthened, guardian & teacher’s awareness needs to be a prime focus as they are the major stakeholder to make virtual learning effectively take its pace and shape. Parents and Teachers both are liable to monitor their students and evaluate them.
E-learning being the most desired, effective, and cheaply available tool for learners, it is more resourceful for learners as they can acquire more information accessing the internet. With the advancement of technology, many educational institutes are offering online learning or distance education using E-learning materials. Those people who were unable to give full time for learning in a higher educational institute due to their own circumstances, E-learning has made easy learning for them by themselves using different web-based technologies or seeing the tutorials on a computer or mobile on accessing the internet. As many universities in Nepal now offering distance education with internet technologies, students were getting more opportunities for multiple options of flexible learning. Therefore, basic skills to use the internet and e-learning platforms must be clarified to students and teachers both.
Mr. Neupane explained e-learning to be an opportunity led by the problem. Now the role is upon us to increase its effectiveness and utilize it consistently. The focus should be developing online learning in a better way with more interaction, development of curriculum, time management, development of effective recording and assessment modules and guidelines, and preparedness for the future. The government is now aware of the essence of digital learning, so have come up with a teacher training module where they will be taught about how we can utilize e-learning to make the education system consistent and more effective with the availability of learning resources.
To sum up, the Education system is upgrading these days with advanced technologies that are from conventional learning to E-learning and this is relevant for learners as it is providing flexibility in learning with optional choices for study to the learner with unlimited access to information.