By Ravi Kamat

Is online learning a success in Goa? Connectivity at some places in the state is still a dream for many. A student who happens to live in a place with the accessibility of internet connectivity 24x7 is just lucky than one who is struggling to get proper signal. Even after having access to connectivity, some don’t even have android phones or laptops as they cannot afford them. Online education is a big challenge to parents, teachers and mainly for students as they lack the basic resources that one needs for online education. Just saying online education is good to hear about, but it is not the reality anymore after looking at what is happening around the state, where many of them still happen to be in the dark and expecting to have it.
Had anyone ever imagined that such a time will arrive where online education will be the only option? Did we miss out on planning for the future of the state? Is this the development that we were talking about wherein basic resources for online education are missing? On one side we all are talking about online education but on the other hand, we lack in providing basic resources to the weaker side of society in our state. Can the authorities take note of this and help them out during such a time when everyone is going through financial scarcity and problems. Helping hands from the authorities can take a huge burden off parents, teachers and students by providing some help in the form of basic resources to start and be a part of the online education system.
We don’t know for how long this pandemic will continue or when the vaccine will be realised. With this pandemic we cannot have normal offline classes at schools because of certain protocols that need to be followed when in public. Social distancing in schools is just a myth and not a reality. There are many schools with no proper ventilation and infrastructure which will create havoc. It would be a red carpet for COVID-19 to spread its wings to the youngsters. Online education is a must and need of the hour. We need to take proper steps in order to promote it. Proper planning by the authorities and like-minded people who are ready to help the needy should come forward. The future of our country and state are struggling in their career due to pandemic and needs urgent attention in order to get what they deserve.
There were a few instances where authorities had taken up the task to connect every household with connectivity by installing towers in every village so everyone could have access to the internet, but due to protests by the locals, authorities had to back off from doing so. Educating the local villagers and stakeholders about the need for the tower in order to provide connectivity to every household is a must. The advantage of having towers in their village should be shared by the concerned people and should not be against it anymore as the future of every child lies in online education as of now. Way back then, authorities had started a scheme of providing tabs and laptops for all the students of classes 8 and 12, which was actually a good scheme but due to complaints from parents and teachers with regard to students misusing them the scheme was stopped. The scheme was very beneficial for many who could not afford to buy such gadgets. Since now schools are not open and online education is the need of the hour the authorities should start the scheme for those in need.
Let us all support our youth who are facing hardships with online education, as its high time that authorities focus more the development of online education. It is the only way forward as the pandemic has taught us to be digital and we have to accept being digital as the one of the new normals.

(Writer is working in the field of digital marketing)