College teachers want free 2GB data per day scheme to continue

College teachers are curious to know if the State government will retain the scheme of free 2GB data per day to students initiated by the previous regime.

The scheme, which became operational from the beginning of this year for four months till completion of the 2020-21 academic year, enabled close to 10 lakh students to attend online classes and take up examinations.

The scheme covered all students enrolled in government and government-aided arts and science colleges, polytechnics, engineering and scholarship-funded private institutions.

At this juncture, there is no problem since teachers are busy with valuation work. And, the government is yet to take a stand on whether or not to continue with online classes for the academic year 2021-22 or to restart offline classes.

“The admission process for undergraduate programmes is yet to begin, and there is still time. Yet, it would be a huge relief for students and teachers if the government makes an announcement on the status of the scheme beforehand,” said David Livingston, zonal president, Tamil Nadu Government College Teachers’ Association.

Continuity of the scheme, in any case, will be of high utility to students now that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has recommended ‘blended learning’, college heads pointed out.

The National Education Policy 2020 also favours promoting digital learning alongside traditional classroom face-to-face teaching.

Blended Learning, the concept note of UGC states, transforms the teacher’s role from knowledge provider to coach and mentor. It is what makes the classroom interaction more student-driven, bottom-up and customised, it states.

The important features of blended learning, according to UGC, constitute increased student engagement in learning, enhanced teacher-student interaction, time management and flexibility, improved student learning outcomes, more flexible teaching and learning environment and better opportunities for experiential learning.

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