Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, the government of Bangladesh introduced lockdowns and other precautionary measures to prevent the spike in infection.
One of the measures taken by the government was to shut down all educational institutions from 17 March 2020 onward and most educational institutions remained closed until October this year.
The SSC examination of 2020, which began on 2 March, finished without interruption but the HSC examination, which was scheduled to take place in April, was postponed and eventually cancelled. The results of the HSC 2020 test were published based on the results of the SSC and JSC exams.
The results of this year's are being decided in December based on restricted evaluation based on assignments in various secondary school courses as well as the results of the preceding class, which was conducted in November.
After remaining closed for several months, the University Grant Commission (UGC) instructed the universities to continue offering online classes. The aim was to keep students engaged, given we had no idea how long the pandemic would endure.
Although online courses were made available in universities and institutions, most students limited to the confines of their homes could not take advantage of this opportunity because of a lack of sufficient digital infrastructure and poor internet connection in rural communities.
Soon the education ministry and relevant authorities realised that the only option to curb learning loss was to incorporate students at all levels (schools, colleges, and universities) in online classes. Now that the infection rates have subsided and educational institutions are opening up, we need to talk about blended learning.
Of blended learning and pandemic-era education
Blended learning is a contemporary educational style in which students may simultaneously participate in class both in-person and electronically. It combines in-person instruction with online activities to provide a comprehensive learning experience.
Blended learning is becoming more popular in Asia. It has been implemented by several nations, such as South Korea, China, Japan, and Singapore for student development and higher education.
Concerns regarding the Covid-19 Omicron variant are rising all across the globe at this time.
Because Omicron may spread swiftly and readily and circumvent the human immune system, scientists are particularly worried about its potential to spread. As a result, immunisations against it are less effective. Yet, to address this scenario, further protection should be provided.
It looks like Covid-19 is here to stay and we need to be prepared to readily shift from in-person classes to online classes if and when it becomes necessary as infection rates rise.
Online learning has allowed the majority of public and private universities to continue their academic operations. However, instructors, students, staff, and guardians found it more difficult to adapt to this new digital platform than they had anticipated.
Blended learning provides greater advantages to instructors, students, and administrative staff than traditional learning methods.
During the pandemic, numerous nations embraced this one-of-a-kind instructional strategy to curb learning loss during the pandemic.
This strategy makes it possible for students and instructors to communicate on a local and global scale. Students at the university level will benefit more from this approach since it makes it simple to participate in class remotely and all assignments can be submitted online.
Students may access classes regardless of their physical ability or geographic location because blended learning allows them to do so.
Additionally, this strategy is more cost-effective for students. The use of blended learning helps to guarantee safety in a Covid-19 setting.
Additionally, it is difficult to provide some courses online due to the nature of the material. Students can attend those courses in-person by taking additional precautions.
A further advantage of blended learning is that it is a more cost-effective approach. And it further enables teachers to hold students accountable, give alternate learning strategies such as subtitles or recorded lectures for self-paced study, and create apps to aid students in building confidence in public speaking situations.
When used in conjunction with live video conferencing stage features like surveys and examinations, thoughtful virtual games, and an assortment of coordinated and offbeat learning activities, blended learning shows a promising approach to bring out the understudies in the classroom.
While using this strategy, there is no option to remain inactive when attending lessons. Everyone is expected to participate in class; and they must move around the room and are instructed to practice the lesson by "rotating among the various stations".
There will be complete flexibility in online study, just as there is with any other course. This is referred to as 'rotation'. For face-to-face instruction, a regular classroom designated as the 'Lab', will be available.
Students may also choose the online course that they need to take on their own. Participation in the online course will also be recorded, although this will be done under the supervision of a professor.
Overall, there will be possibilities for you to study in the manner that you like, take tests in the manner that you prefer, and complete projects in the manner that you choose.
Students must be able to communicate with their teachers using a digital platform. It is possible to provide several sorts of reading material to students if the teacher requests it.
One of the biggest challenges in blended learning is that all the teachers are not knowledgeable about online classes. This platform is completely new to them.
So, UGC and the Education Ministry should conduct training sessions to resolve the situation. Teachers need to be trained to fulfil the expectations of the students.
Shahriar Islam Shovon is a student from the Department of Law & Human Rights at the University of Asia Pacific.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.