COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus disease, was discovered in December 2019 and is responsible for taking away millions of lives. The implications of COVID-19 vary in terms of the socioeconomic status of individuals.
Socioeconomic status measures the sociological and economic standing of an individual. It determines one’s socio-economic position based on income, occupation, and health. Socio-economic status acts as a key factor in explaining the effect of the pandemic and the issues related to it.
COVID-19 has impacted all sectors of society, including the education sector, resulting in the closing of educational institutions, at all levels, from Montessori to higher education systems. The closure of institutions was a necessary measure taken in light of the outbreak of the pandemic but it has impacted the quality of education due to the socio-economic status of individuals.
The closing of the educational institutions gave an impetus to the growth of Digital education. The scope of digital education has been limited in a country like ours and the effects are highly heterogeneous.
The mode of learning, teaching, and evaluation methods have all been redefined overnight, as a result of the pandemic. Digital education has transformed the mode of delivery of education completely. Digital learning has become the only tool of instilling education and from being an additional tool in delivering education prior to COVID-19, it has now become the only tool efficient and flexible for use. “Study from home” marked a transformation in how education was delivered through the ages. The traditional classroom teaching converted into e-learning, virtual education is the new alternative to On-Campus classes, face-to-face interactions has been replaced by chats in virtual platforms, seminars have converted into webinars. The resources of learning have changed two, which converted from heading to the library previously to downloading e-books and watching online videos, the shift in the education sector has transformed the chalk-talk method into a new way of learning, that of virtual education.
The disparity in one’s economic standing has resulted in variations in the delivery of education. One of the most significant impacts has been that of the Digital divide. Digital education has resulted in a digital divide as students struggle to afford the necessary tools of digital education, mainly gadgets and the costs of digital education have proved to be expensive for most, thus proving that in these times, education has become a tool for the rich. The disparity is highlighted clearly. However, schemes for the financially weaker sections have helped a bit but lower-middle classes still struggle to achieve quality education due to the lack of the required resources.
A plethora of surveys have been conducted, and more than 50% of responses are in favor of the fact that digital education has affected students’ academic performance and their understanding of the subjects.
Moreover, Digital education has delayed the completion of education within the prescribed time, students have as a result of the delay, lost prospective internships and job offers, thus having trouble in keeping up with the high costs of living. Research studies have revealed that parents struggle to pay the fees of the educational institutions amidst the pandemic, and as a result of the failure to pay the fees, students had to withdraw in between the academic session.
Thus, Digital Education might seem an easy tool to many of us, but it has been a method of education that has disrupted the flow and scope of education, creating a digital divide, and this is solely a result of the varying socio-economic status of individuals in the current situation.