EXPERT COMMENT

Online learning could be new normal in 4th Industrial Revolution

it is time institutions and the public realised the Fourth Industrial Revolution has begun

In Summary

• Educators and other stakeholders need to support the switching of gears to online teaching as the coronavirus continues to disrupt teaching and learning.

Nicholus Kyete, a Grade 1 pupil at Muthue Primary School in Kitui South, holds a tablet provided to the school
Nicholus Kyete, a Grade 1 pupil at Muthue Primary School in Kitui South, holds a tablet provided to the school
Image: MUSEMBI NZENGU

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the closure of schools, forced learners to study at home and forced teachers to adapt to teaching virtually.

Worth noting is that a good percentage of students in Kenya do not have internet access at home or reliable access, a number of teachers have not been adequately trained and the cost of devices still remains high.

Educators and other stakeholders need to support the switching of gears to online teaching as the coronavirus continues to disrupt teaching and learning in schools and universities alike.

 
 

Universities have so far lost five weeks of the first semester. Primary and secondary schools are counting three weeks due to the April holiday that ends in a week.

However, the question is, When will all this end so that we can go back to normal?

However, it is time institutions realised the Fourth Industrial Revolution has begun and will soon be the new normal.

It is an idea facing pockets of resistance but change is inevitable.

But it is also the time people started thinking about how they can live in a coronavirus world.

In the short term, various institutions sought to try online learning but most of them are struggling to take off. We have been thrown into the deep end and we need to sink or swim.

If, for instance, the pandemic runs for 18 months, will we continue sitting and waiting?

 
 

We have to realise nothing is perfect on its first day.

We need to look at how we will seal the loopholes in online learning and how it can stand alone and not supplement classroom learning.

In addressing some gaps, the government will need to train lecturers to take up the change.

In the medium term, the government must consider duty exemptions on laptops and tablets and provide reliable bandwidth to keep teaching and learning going and affordable.

Teachers also could take this opportunity to take up online training courses. This will give them an edge in their careers.

The lecturer at the University of Nairobi and former PS in the IT ministry spoke to the Star