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Abstract

Covid-19 lead to colleges and universities ending in-person instruction. The online education that emerged after COVID-19, has been challenging in Nepal because students, teachers, and administrators were not prepared for it. Stakeholders of education should work in many areas to enhance the effectiveness of online education and make it more similar to classroom education.
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Short Essay
Volume 4, Issue 1 (2020), pp. 45-49
International Journal of
Entrepreneurship and Economic Issues
ISSN: 2616-0048 Print/ ISSN: 2631-231X Online
Challenges of Online Education during COVID-19
Pandemic in Nepal
Kabita Khati
Padmakanya Multiple Campus, Nepal,
Khem Raj Bhatta
Central Department of Psychology, Nepal
ABSTRACT
Covid-19 lead to colleges and universities ending in-person instruction. The
online education that emerged after COVID-19, has been challenging in
Nepal because students, teachers, and administrators were not prepared for
it. Stakeholders of education should work in many areas to enhance the
effectiveness of online education and make it more similar to classroom
education.
Keywords: COVID-19, Online Education, Challenges, College Education
The coronavirus outbreak that started from Wuhan city of China in late
2019, has claimed more than four hundred thousand deaths globally.
COVID-19 pandemic has become a threat to the community worldwide
(Buheji et al., 2020) and Nepal is no exception. Nepal had the first case of
COVID-19 on 20th February 2020 (Shrestha et al., 2020). In a span of three
months, cases have been increased to 10728 and death toll to 24 (Mishra,
2020).
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Besides the casualties, the COVID-19 pandemic has a
multidimensional impact globally and a large number of students are
deprived of their education. The Pandemic contributed to closure of more
than 90% of world’s schools (Strauss, 2020). Many students in Nepal are
experiencing distress due to the lockdown imposed immediately a week
before their scheduled exams. Several students are still waiting for the exam
schedule. Due to pandemic, those planning for abroad study are either
waiting indefinitely or abandoned their plans (Dhungana, 2020).
Educational institutes have, however, started online education as an
emergency alternative to traditional face-to-face education. As lockdown
completed three months government of Nepal and many Universities have
formalized online classes.
Online classes are flexible for both teachers and students but such
classes have their own challenges (Gillett-Swan, 2017). The attention of
students and safety issues can be important challenges during online classes
(Phuyal, 2020). Also, children from low-income working class cannot join
the online class as they often do know have access to a computer of reliable
Internet service (Ghimire, 2020; Ojha, 2020). Professors who mostly relied
on in-person modalities found the shift to online teaching challenging
(Subedi, 2020). Many academicians considered the decision to move
quickly to online or virtual class as premature in face of limited
infrastructure and training. Some experts also argue that online classes in the
Nepalese context are against the spirit of equitable access to education as
this deprived right to education of economically marginalized people.
Recent coverage by ABC News showed that many students do not consider
online classes as equivalent to classroom experiences (Binkley, 2020).
Teachers, administrators, and parents have are also questioning the
effectiveness of online education.
MAIN ARUGMENT
Even though all stakeholders of education have concerns regarding the
effectiveness of online education in Nepal, they report it differently.
Students have four main issues regarding online education. First, they find it
difficult to adapt to technology. Students often struggle to post assignments
and log on to classes. Second, some students consider online classes as less
interactive. For example, one of our students said, “there is more of teacher
talking and less of interaction." Third, poor Internet connectivity in many
areas of Nepal makes it difficult for students to attend classes and post
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assignments. Fourth, the unavailability of computers poses a challenge in
learning.
For teachers, the problem arises because they neither expected nor
prepared for online classes. Learning technology is one challenge for
teachers. Also, the lack of eye contact makes it difficult for them to
understand whether or not students are getting their pace. For some
teachers, their children at home often disturb synchronous class delivery.
Administrators have different problems during online classes. For
school administration, the primary problem surrounds on payment of house
rent and salary in light of obstruction in fee collection. School
administrators do worry that COVID-19 will result in a higher dropout rate
as poverty soars. At the university level, administrators often find it hard to
make teachers available to engaging training to better prepare for online
learning. Also, the lower rate of attendance is a burden to administrators.
Parents also have many concerns regarding online education. The
overreliance of their children on the Internet during lockdown is one
insecurity they have. One parent said, “I fear, my child can go out of my
hands.” Working parents have added burden due to lower safety standards at
worksites. These parents report anxiety about bringing COVID-19 to their
homes. Also, some parents have issues because they have no one to take
care of children when they are at work.
Despite many challenges, online education has some benefits for
students, administrators, and teachers. Some students loved online classes
either because it is flexible or because they would miss traditional classes
due to jobs. For some students, online classes are good because it saves
travel time. For administrators, the engagement of a variety of experts can
be one benefit of online education. Due to flexibility of time, administrators
can engage experts who would be unavailable in face-to-face classes. This
trend has now started with many university classes engaging foreign experts
as guest lecturers. For teachers, the flexibility of time is one merit of the
online class. Thus, handled effectively, online education can be long term
supplementary to traditional classes.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Online education, though it has its positives, is full of challenges at the
moment in Nepal. Despite some flexibility and the only alternative at the
moment, a continuation of it without the development of physical and
human resource infrastructures can be ineffective. Poor network, the
security of the Internet, and the possibility of Internet addiction can be other
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challenges. Consideration of online education as a short-term solution by
teachers and administrators can contribute to lower motivation and the
ultimate effectiveness of online classes.
To enhance the effectiveness of online education in Nepal,
stakeholders should focus more on the improvement of infrastructures, to
train teachers, and motivate students. According to the World Health
Organization, COVID-19 extend for two- three years. Thus, online
education can be one important knowledge-sharing platform. Also, the
enhancement of online education can be helpful to continue teaching
learning education in other natural calamities like that Nepal experienced in
the 2015-earthquake. At the moment, online education should be considered
complementary rather than an alternative to traditional classes. Stakeholders
of education should also work for equitable education when they plan for
online education.
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Binkley, C. (2020, May 5). Unimpressed by online classes, college students
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succeed in Nepal. The Kathmandu Post, Retrieved
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Gillett-Swan, J. (2017). The challenges of online learning: Supporting and
engaging the isolated learner. Journal of Learning Design, 10(1),
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Mishra, A. (2020, June 25). Bikalpa ma Suti Ko Mask. Kantipur, p. 2.
Ojha, A. (2020, June 9). Children from low-income working class families
can't join online classes. The Kathmandu Post, Retrieved
https://kathmandupost.com
Phuyal, K. (2020, April 10). Challenges of Virtual Class. Himalayan Times,
Retrieved https://thehimalayantimes.com
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Shrestha, R., Shrestha, S., Khanal, P., & KC, B. (2020). Nepal’s First Case
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Strauss, V. (2020, April 6). Schools of more than 90 percent of the world’s
students closed during this pandemic. This graphic shows how fast
it happened. Washington Post, Retrieved
https://www.washingtonpost.com/
KABITA KHATI, M.A., is a Senior Lecturer in Padmakanya Multiple
campus, Psychology Department, Tribhuvan University. Her major research
interests lie in the area of psychological welling, higher education research
and women issues. Email: kabitaedu@gmail.com
KHEM RAJ BHATTA, M.A., is Lecturer in Central Department of
Psychology, Tribhuvan University. His major interests lie in the area of
academic achievement of students, test anxiety and elderly issues. Email:
bhattakhem123@gmail.com
Manuscript submitted: June 25, 2020
Manuscript revised: July 10, 2020
Accepted for publication: July 15, 2020
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Unimpressed by online classes, college students seek refunds
  • C Binkley
Binkley, C. (2020, May 5). Unimpressed by online classes, college students seek refunds. abc News, Retreived https://abcnews.go.com
Covid-19 lockdown affects Nepali students planning to go abroad
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Dhungana, S. (2020, June 25). Covid-19 lockdown affects Nepali students planning to go abroad. The Kathmandu Post, Retrieved https://kathmandupost.com
Digital divide too wide for online classes to succeed in Nepal
  • B Ghimire
Ghimire, B. (2020, May 28). Digital divide too wide for online classes to succeed in Nepal. The Kathmandu Post, Retrieved https://kathmandupost.com
Children from low-income working class families can't join online classes
  • A Ojha
Ojha, A. (2020, June 9). Children from low-income working class families can't join online classes. The Kathmandu Post, Retrieved https://kathmandupost.com
Challenges of Virtual Class
  • K Phuyal
Phuyal, K. (2020, April 10). Challenges of Virtual Class. Himalayan Times, Retrieved https://thehimalayantimes.com
Guru karma in virtual times
  • A Subedi
Subedi, A. (2020, May 10). Guru karma in virtual times. The Kathmandu Post, Retrieved https://kathmandupost.com
Schools of more than 90 percent of the world's students closed during this pandemic. This graphic shows how fast it happened
  • V Strauss
Strauss, V. (2020, April 6). Schools of more than 90 percent of the world's students closed during this pandemic. This graphic shows how fast it happened. Washington Post, Retrieved https://www.washingtonpost.com/