Distance education as a part of applied, useful and rational science includes correspondence sources and material derived from online portals. According to James Taylor Models of Distance Education, distance education takes account of online interactions and participatory involvements. It seeks help from appropriate open-access sources drawn from the World Wide Web and combines valuable technology into a system of opinions, philosophies, principles, content, and methods emphasizing the problems of long-run distance education for adults and youth. Social distancing is the main feature of the model of COVID-19 and distance education which is why distance education embraces the family of teaching aids in which the teaching activities are executed apart from the learning activities. Any disturbance or crisis in an economy is in need of special skills and knowledge so as to free the economy from different problems. Distance education is a savior in this pandemic for the reason that it can impart suitable online skills and knowledge which guide students in the first place and scientists and think tanks in the second place how to face the challenge of a virus and how to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The underlying principles of distance education can generate better learning skills and technological expertise which will rationalize and increase specialization on the one hand and discover vaccine sooner or later on the another hand.
The underdeveloped economies are witnessing a high division of labour and specialization and undoubtedly social distancing nowadays seems very difficult and challenging at the same time. Since, lockdown and social distancing have to be adopted until this virus moderates if not ends up, distance education has a very significant role to play. It is a way to achieve tripartite goals of social distancing, rigorous testing, and contact tracing (SRC) so that affected parts of the world could stop the transmission of this virus. According to the statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), the graph of COVID-19 has had an exponential rise and like a wild beast it pounced upon the world in general and European nations in particular. Through online and distance education of tripartite goals of SRC, we can expect a reduction in corona cases. Australian research confirmed that the more efficient a social distancing system is, the more time it takes for the virus to spread and vice versa. In other words, longer the time lag of declaration of social distancing, the longer is the time lag for the virus to transmit itself aggressively. It is here that Europe went wrong for they ignored such relationships.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) on social distancing and COVID-19 nexus recommend a comprehensive communicating and interactive participation of young learners about the importance of social distancing. MOOC along with the World Wide Web or other network skills, and digital technologies are recent advancements in distance education. It can act as a framework for effective tripartite goals of SRC. Countries must realize that they can expect a successful social distancing and reduction in COVID-19 shocks on an important condition that different population or subjects should be provided with different opportunities and possibilities to online learning repeatedly in the same background in terms of building ideas, gaining good content, and developing instruction materials so that the world can follow rules and social distancing properly, irrespective of differences in knowledge and aptitude.
Asian and African countries are underdeveloped economies characterized by the poor health system, low growth rates, low per-capita income, unorganized sectors, weak markets, low capital formation, bad political economy, faulty education system, etc. In addition. plans and schemes fail to meet their targets as a result of many related social, economic, and political factors. Likewise, lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing are not so effective because people are not cooperative and government authorities fail to incorporate proper infrastructure in quarantine centers. Moreover, the government fails to impart appropriate skills and training in these centers which results in disequilibrium in the COVID-19 world on the first instance and quarantine centers in the second instance. A proper understanding of the need and importance of distancing is required in order to get rid of coronavirus. The development of proper distance mode of education will definitely help in making social distancing effective and overcome the bad characteristics of this pandemic together with taking our economy out of depression.
Distance education offering a wide range of online courses in the worldwide education markets will definitely bring positive changes in education in pandemic and post-pandemic times. If handled properly, it will certainly reduce the shocks of COVID-19 in particular and other shocks in general. Also it will lead a path towards the development of the modern education system in India which is still reliant upon rote memorization, textbooks, and classroom lectures. In corona times the aims and goals of our education are beyond what is seen and observed because it ought to leave the frontiers of rote memorization and textbook learning. Online learning has more employment prospects and has the ability to improve efficiency levels, and nurture frame of mind. At the present moment, it is necessary to develop distance learning centers that will promote the idea and importance of social distancing in times of crisis and epidemic.
Binish Qadri ICSSR Doctoral Fellow pursuing Ph.D. in Economics at Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir; Quarterly Franklin Member, London Journals Press