Education

Nearly half of faculty in Indian colleges striving hard to manage teaching during Covid-19: QS report

PTI New Delhi | Updated on December 15, 2020

Faculty and staff of Sapthagiri College of Engineering at the Trivarna Utsava-2020 held in the college premises on the eve of Independence day celebrations. Photo: PTI

Over 45 per cent of faculty in Indian higher education institutions have been striving hard to manage during the COVID-19 pandemic by learning continually to improve their digital skills which has led to extreme tiredness and draining of energy levels, a new report claims.

The report is based on a survey conducted by QS IGAUGE, which rates colleges and universities in India with complete operational control held by the London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), which comes out with coveted global university rankings.

Over 1,700 faculty members from across the country participated in the Faculty Academic Review for Excellence (FARE), 2020 survey.

“It is important to note that online teaching during the pandemic is not the same as the one before COVID-19. The added emotional baggage of uncertainty along with concerns around physical and psychological health, job security, finances and many more are bound to have an adverse impact and make the sudden, and for many a rather unwelcome, transition to online teaching,” the report said.

“At least 46 per cent of the surveyed faculty members said they have been striving hard to manage by learning continually to improve their digital competencies and skills which has resulted in extreme tiredness and draining out of energy levels,” it added.

The report has cited factors such as being under constant observation while teaching through an unfamiliar medium with totally new tools, difficulty in engaging learners and getting them to respond and collaborate during lessons, and assessing the learning outcomes as major challenges being faced by teachers during the period.

“The transition to online classes has not been easy for teachers, and keeping them all safe in cyberspace has been a huge challenge. While approximately 9 per cent of the respondents stated that they have witnessed a sharp increase in their stress and anxiety levels, 52 per cent reported a moderate increase in anxiety levels post the shift to online teaching,” it said.

According to the report, a significant proportion of faculty responded positively, stating their rapport has improved with the students (41 per cent), colleagues (43 per cent) and administration (41 per cent).

“While a similar proportion of respondents indicated no such change, 17.4 per cent faculty members stated that their rapport with students has worsened post the shift to online teaching. The response to deteriorated rapport with colleagues was at 8 per cent and the administration at 9.9 per cent,” it said.

“The data also revealed that 30 per cent of the respondents lacked technical know-how, digital skills, virtual learning resources, while 70 per cent of the respondents emerged victorious when they managed to proudly sit before a laptop to teach their remote learner in the online class,” the report added.

Universities and colleges were closed in the country in the middle of March this year to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. A nationwide lockdown was announced on March 25.

While the central government has permitted phased reopening of educational institutions as per the local situation of COVID-19, majority teaching-learning activities continue to be online.

Published on December 15, 2020

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