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Online class in Nepal- Possibility, Challenges, and solutions

Due to the national wide lockdown, the Normal lives are still at a halt. Corona Virus pandemic is making its way through the country. Schools and colleges are completely shut down. As a result, the life of students is at hold. No one knows how long this is going to last and thus it’s a compulsion to look for the alternatives. Education institutions are looking for the possibility of online classes in Nepal. Along the way, they are facing different challenges. Here, let’s discuss online class Nepal- Possibility, Challenges, and Outcomes.

Possibility of online classes in Nepal:

As per the data, mobile penetrations have reached over 130% in Nepal. Almost 62% of them use the internet connection in their phones. Most of them are youth between the age 15 to 35. This indicates a reasonable number of connections with the students. It’s obvious that many students are aware of the use of the internet for the right purposes. They can easily learn about the methods to join an online class and continue their studies.

The urgency of online classes has been felt in Nepal only after the implementation of lockdown. But the world had adopted this shift of learning a while ago. As a result, all necessary platforms have already been prepared. Nepal can look at other international Universities that have been using an online platform and use similar techniques. They can get the idea, resources, and tools from those universities as well. An application like Skype, Xoom, Google Meet, Blackboard, Modle, and Canvas is already available in the play store for download. With such support, the process can be quick and effective.

Challenges of online classes in Nepal:

While the possibilities are exciting, there are many challenges that come along the way.

Dependra Bajaracharya, Business Development Manager at Microsoft, Singapore says,”Most colleges and schools are not prepared to conduct online classes”. He adds that Microsoft has provided 250+ institutions with the resources. Only Nepal Open University and Kathmandu University had course modules and online resources before lockdown.

Using a video conference platform is not a complete solution for online classes. There are other aspects such as facilitating assignment, reporting, grading, feedback, and overall managing.

Lack of preparation for University is still a small problem. A whole new issue arises when we talk about the accessibility of the students. We cannot force such class to parents who cannot afford computers or laptops for the children. Access to the internet is another issue. Many cities and municipalities have Wi-Fi connections to their houses. But what about the thousands of villages across the country where there’s not a single Wi-Fi connection in the village? Even the areas with Wi-Fi connection have irregular connectivity and slow internet. While many others have access to Mobile Data but they are either too slow for live classes or way more expensive.

Solutions to the Challenges

First and foremost, schools and colleges should proper syllabus. They can record the classes and make the files available to the class. For this they can use apps like office 365, Zoom, Google classroom etc. Thankfully, these applications have been made free during the lockdown phase. We have one less thing to worry about.

There are two ways in which online classes can be conducted. Synchronous classes can be conducted in real-time with live sessions like Skype, Zoom, Google meet, Slack, Blackboard, eztalks etc. In asynchronous tools, the response is delayed. Moodle and Canvas can be used for such learning. Simultaneous use of both techniques can be of great help. If the internet connection is possible for the students, teachers can adopt live session. Otherwise, they can upload the video and all teaching materials online. Students can download the materials whenever they have a connection to the internet.

To solve the issue of Wi-Fi connectivity, Nepal telecom and Ncell have announced special packages and bonuses to the students. But the packages have not been made public yet.

To Sum Up,  Till the date, we have been so occupied by the challenges faced during online classes that zero efforts have been made to overcome them. Now that there’s no other alternative for online classes, let’s look at the ways to overcome those challenges. Hope at the end of these pandemics, students will have learned their courses online. I hope the education will not be at hold anymore.

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