** Cyclone ‘Gulab’: Warning signal 2 issued for maritime ports ** Where is the need for Narcotics Department? ** Those tarnishing country’s image are people’s enemy: PM ** Workers of a readymade garment (RMG) factory stage a demonstration in the capital's Mirpur area on Saturday demanding payment of their arrears. ** Cop killed by ‘drug addict’ in Rangpur ** Maritime ports asked to warn vessels of depression over Bay ** Three killed in Netrakona road crash ** Lack of data and access to resources are major challenges ** Narcotics department is to crack down 3,500 listed drug dealers in Dhaka ** Tangail road crash kills three ** Five girl students contract Covid in Thakurgaon school ** Looting of banks won’t change unless the government changes ** Police charge baton to disperse protest by deceived Eorange customers who were attempting to occupy the Matsyabhaban intersection on Thursday. ** Thousands flee Myanmar town after clashes with junta troops ** Schoolgirl dies with Covid symtomps in Manikganj ** BNP leader Nazrul Islam hospitalised ** Man held with 25 gold bars at Dhaka airport ** Two die in Naogaon road crash ** Is the delta variant of the coronavirus worse for kids? ** 50 lakh Sinopharm doses arrive in Dhaka ** Why gas only, their crisis is multiplying everywhere ** A number of children admitted to Thakurgaon Adhunik Hospital for cold-related diseases compelled to stay along with their parents outside of the hospital due to lack of beds. This photo was taken on Wednesday. ** Biden pledges 500m jabs for developing nations ** Another case filed against Evaly CEO, Chairman ** Narayan Khadka appointed Nepal's foreign minister **

Education Reopened Blended Learning Imperative

15 September 2021
Education Reopened Blended Learning Imperative

Alaul Alam :
The educational institutions across the country reopened on 12 this month. By this time for nearly 18 months remote education has been the new normal trend in teaching and learning. But in the time of reopening a question arises from many; is virtual education replacing to in-person education? Or is the country going to adopt a blended education paradigm for students?
However, many hope to solve the ongoing crisis in education through blended learning paradigm. Actually, blended learning refers to the combination of online and onsite education. In the post Covid era many countries are gong to emphasize on the blended education to mitigate the loss in education caused by pandemic.
Undeniably, shifting education from online to onsite can never tackle the challenges in a short time the education has faced during the long uncertain closure. But the education catastrophe could be addressed with the shorter possible time in a befitting manner if the virtual education continues along with the most prioritized in-person education approach.  
Experts opine that many countries in the world follow blended education paradigm. Both online and onsite education are open for the learners. The learners are given options to choose their learning paradigm. They may choose either online or onsite or blended education model. It is evident that in our country conducting online education is almost the first time experience. So, if we continue this education system together with onsite education, undoubtedly this virtual trend will be able to be another model to accelerate teaching and learning to a height.
In Bangladesh context students in school education have faced a significant learning gap despite the on-air education is running but in most cases they have not experienced academic year gap as the government announced their auto-promotion to the next class.  So, to address the education catastrophe with the quickest response, together with onsite education the online education should be continued.  Actually, blended education not only means the inclusion of the online and in-person education, rather it is an integrated education system in which education and technology go simultaneously.
Technology integrated education paradigm is relatively a new phenomenon in Bangladesh though many countries began this education decades ago. However, undeniably technology has changed the way not only our living style but also our thinking. The way we can produce, distribute and reproduce knowledge has been greatly changed and when it is incorporated in the class the ultimate outcome of education enhances to a great extent.
Findings of the studies around the world show that the ICT-integrated class ensures more outcomes than that of conventional one. The world has advanced tremendously to digitalization and the digital learning has been emerged as a strong platform in the field of education and research. So, we hardly have any scopes to avert digital education amid living the digital era.
Again, the priority should be given to ensure a combination of online and face-to-face modes of teaching and learning not only to save the education from the ongoing catastrophe but also to ensure a world class teaching and learning paradigm for more innovations to make the generations into quality manpower.
However, it is good to notice that realizing the importance of blended education at the tertiary education in Bangladesh, recently the University Grants Commission (UGC) has finalized the draft of a blended learning policy so that Bangladesh is not left behind in higher education. The recommendations of the draft have emphasized on incorporating the online and onsite education to ensure the quickest response to the education catastrophe. Education experts opine that to mitigate the challenges in the post Covid era blended education is a must.
To this end, truly incorporating blended education is no alternative to take our education to a global height. But to ensure the outcome of blended education the first priority should be given to ensure a hassle-free online education as it is very imperative to make a balance between online and onsite education that will contribute to blended education. So, if online education goes as it is with no innovations and initiatives to make it access to all, blended education model may turn disrupted and the recovery of our education may be prolonged.

(Alaul Alam teaches at Prime University. He is also a research
scholar at the IBS).

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