Students’ perspective of online medical education in India during COVID-19 pandemic: The need for Rural-Urban equity
Background: Sudden shifting of medical education to online mode during COVID presented several challenges for teachers and students. It was complicated by differences in resources between rural and urban India. We assessed perception of medical students for online education and difference in these between students of rural and urban areas. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional pan India online survey was conducted amongst undergraduate medical students. Responses were collected for one week during May 2021. Results: 1125 students from 52 medical colleges responded. 85% of students already had device for online classes. Non-urban students were more affected by network interruptions. 85% students complained of eye problems while 71% complained of postural issues. 77% of students did not have practical training, with problem increasing in higher professional years. Interaction with teachers and classmates was another area of concern highlighted by most of the students. Conclusions: Internet connectivity, health issues and practical training are major concerns of medical students for online education. We need to ensure that non-urban residents are not at a disadvantage due to lack of infrastructure in non-urban areas. Medical institutions also need to innovate for two-way interaction between students and teachers.
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