CHENNAI: Academicians in the State have raised concerns over the implementation of e-learning initiatives announced in the Union Budget on Tuesday, and feel that Tamil Nadu would not benefit much from the projects. The Union government has announced that it would enhance the PM e-VIDYA initiative, while the number of TV channels under the ‘one class, one channel’ programme will be increased from 12 to 200.
“In Tamil Nadu, we already have Kalvi TV and the State government plans to launch more channels. So, the Centre’s announcements won’t benefit our students,” said Tamil Nadu Graduate Teachers’ Federation general secretary P Patrick Raymond.
Instead of announcing a new digital university, the Centre should have focused on filling up vacancies and developing infrastructure in the already existing institutes, opined Association of Indian Universities President G Thiruvasagam. “Even now, there is no clarity over the implementation of the National Educational Policy, or the quantum of funds universities would receive under it.
The Budget also allocated no funds for the new digital varsity. So, it remains to be seen how the Centre would establish it, and how students from rural areas, where the internet is still a distant dream, would reap its benefits,” he added.
The Budget also failed to address crucial issues, including reduction of education loan interest, and research activities, teachers said. “Apart from a few e-learning initiatives, there wasn’t much in the Budget to address infrastructure issues, or the Covid’s impact on education,” said K Padma, a college lecturer.
While academicians opined the digital initiatives will take years to see the light of day, ed-tech company heads felt the Budget should have dwelled more on developing a tech-enabled curriculum.
Co-founder and CEO of edtech startup LEAD Sumeet Mehta said, “As an educator, I welcome the emphasis on creating digital and free-to-air channels of education. However, at the same time, the Budget appears to circumvent physical schooling. I sincerely hope that is not the case. While online learning was inevitable due to the pandemic, it would never be as effective as classroom learning, which brings out the best in students in terms of learning outcome. Online education can at best play a supplementary role.”