LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

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Blended Learning Is The New Normal

Blended learning is a term which has gained prominence in education over the past decade, and is once again in the spotlight due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Put simply, blended learning is typically a delivery method of education, which combines face-to-face delivery with technology-powered online learning. Blended-learning schools that are pursuing facilitated network learning models mix and match online content with offline learning experiences. Over the years, we have seen many blended-learning classrooms leverage software to differentiate and personalise learning pathways with greater precision and flexibility. Blended learning can be an engine that accelerates data-driven instruction to new heights. But a less-talked-about phenomenon is the possibility of blended learning multiplying the sources of content and experiences students turn to, including adults and experts beyond the four walls of the classroom. In these models, school is not just a building anymore and teachers are not the only adults with whom students can learn. The new norm, we find ourselves in looks set to remain for a good while yet. And, during that time, new adopters of blended learning will be encouraged to find ways of making it work for them, not only for the next few months but for the foreseeable future. Many providers may find that blended learning is not only necessary for survival, but an essential delivery method for long-term success.

C K SUBRAMANIAM, Navi Mumbai

No Privatisation  Of PSBs Needed

This refers to the write-up ‘Pitfalls in Path of PSU Privatisation’ (NT- Feb 14). One would have observed that PSBs have an important development role.  The current management of most PSBs are as good as that of private banks. In fact, it is the level of NPAs which to a great extent differentiate between a good and a bad bank. In fact high level of NPAs in Indian banks is nothing but a reflection of the state of health of the industry and trade. It would be more appropriate to compare performance over a longer period. Privatisation of banks will worsen the banking scenario in the country. The need of the hour is strengthening existing banks and branches, making them a hub of all services. Will  government not face difficulty in providing low-cost financial services to rural and poor sections of society? Will private sector banks be able to share the government’s social responsibilities? Will private banks be able to extend all types of services to customers across categories which is today the root purpose of PSBs? No doubt privatization of banks will lead to the profit-driven approach for short time but on that path would it be possible to implement financial inclusion and other government schemes which is one of the top agenda of RBI?

Vinod C Dixit, Ahmedabad

Tough Competition In Women’s Tennis

Of late Naomi Osaka of Japan is the most consistent among the women tennis players, having just won the Australian Open breezing past American Jennifer Brady 6-3, 6-4 to clinch her fourth Grand Slam title. She, now, has two US Open and two Australian Open titles making her in the last four years the most successful women contender. However, the women’s field is replete with a galaxy of Grand Slam winners during the last four years. Romanian Simona Halep, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic have 2 Grand Slams to their name. Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, Sloanne Stephens of America, Ashleigh Barty of Australia, American Sofia Kenin, Canada’s Bianca Andreescu and Poland’s Iga Swiatek have recently won one Grand Slam each. The women’s tennis circuit has not allowed any particular player to dominate the field, unlike in the previous years when Serena Williams, winner of 23 Grand Slam titles, the most in the Open era and the likes of Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf who by and large made the Grand Slams their monopolies. With the emergence of bright new prospects, women tennis players are kept on their toes in recent years unlike in previous years.

ELVIDIO MIRANDA, PANAJI