Online Education Status at Government and Private Dental College During COVID-19 Pandemic in India: A Comparative Study : Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry

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Original Article

Online Education Status at Government and Private Dental College During COVID-19 Pandemic in India

A Comparative Study

Popli, Hansika; Batra, Manu; Gijwani, Deeksha; Ahuja, Anjali

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Journal of Indian Association of Public Health Dentistry 20(4):p 342-346, Oct–Dec 2022. | DOI: 10.4103/jiaphd.jiaphd_63_21
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In a very short interval of time, COVID-19 has spread all over the world and had taken a form of a pandemic. This had disturbed many major sectors of the future economics that is the education sector. According to the UNESCO report, it had affected more than 90% of the total world's student population during mid-April 2020 which is now reduced to nearly 67% during June 2020. The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted more than 120 crores of students and youths across the planet.[1]

In India, the government has announced the lockdown and closure of educational institutions including dental colleges as a logical solution to enforce social distancing within communities. Respecting the decision of the government, many higher education institutions started to put their efforts to use technology in support of remote learning, distance education, and online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

There are two types of dental colleges in India being run by the government (76) and private bodies (315) and their way of handling, approaching classes is also different. Universities tutored the allied dental colleges to start online classes in favor of students. Subsequently, dental colleges commenced online classes for Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) students. Institutions swiftly embraced the concept of online education to continue the educational activities that would prevent the delay of the session. Around 313 dental colleges in India are believed to be taking online classes through various modalities during the pandemic.[34]

Online teaching and assessment at home environment situations have diverse challenges to face and act on both by faculty and students.[2] For faculty, it is difficult to adopt a new change and being not technology friendly is a great barrier and for students studying at home with a lot of disturbances such as television and other people has made things tougher. Hence, this research has been done to compare the Indian government and private dental college faculty's current practice of online classes and their perception of this education system.


The present study was cross-sectional questionnaire-based; conducted among the faculties of all Indian government and private dental colleges taking online classes of BDS students. A pretested and validated questionnaire[3] was sent to faculty members. The convenient sampling method was used. The sample size was based on the number of dental faculties teaching BDS students on online platforms in India and was determined as 367 using the following formula:[3]

n = (Z2pq/e2)/(1 + Z2pq/e2 × N)

(Where, P = 50%, N = 8100, e = 0.05)

Only those forms which were filled and agreed to participate in the study were included in the study and which was found to be 223 (response rate 60.7%). The study was conducted from December 2020 to January 2021. Ethical permission was taken from institutional ethical review board (SDCRI/IEC/2020/002). For taking consent, a question was added in form having the option of agreeing or disagree to be filled by participants.

Data collection was done using a structured online questionnaire which was developed on Google Forms. The questionnaire comprised of three sections on demographic information, practice on the use of online modalities, and perception of the respondents on online education. Multiple choices were given for questions in the practice section. The perception section comprised of question statements with 4-Likert structured answers ranging from “strongly agree,” “agree,” “disagree,” and “strongly disagree.” Data management was done through a self-generated Excel sheet made with Google Forms, which was transferred to IBM SPSS (version 21.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp) for analysis. Descriptive statistics were calculated for frequency distribution. Nominal categorical data between the groups were compared using the Chi-square test. The level of significance was set at P ≤ 0.05.


Out of all the total 367 questionnaires sent, 300 faculty members responded to the questionnaire. We got only 223 filled forms and these faculty members were taking online classes. Among 223 faculties, 54 were working in Government College and 169 were from a private college. The huge difference in the number of data collection of government to private is because the ratio of dental colleges in India is approximately 1:54and the response rate of government dental colleges was very low, that is, 24.21% as compared to private colleges, that is, 75.78%. Out of all government faculties male and the female staff was equal in number (50%) whereas in private faculties, female staff was a slightly higher in number (50.2%) as compared to male staff (49.8%). According to academic level, in government respondents, there were 24 assistant professors and 30 senior lecturers; however, in private respondents, the number of professors was 20, 49 associate professors, 37 assistant professors, and 63 senior lecturers.

According to this comparative study, it was found that none of the government faculty members had conducted any online classes for students before this pandemic whereas 17.6% of private faculties had conducted online classes before the pandemic. About 27.8% of government faculties and 78.5% of private faculties gave orientation to students about online education [Table 1].

Table 1:
Responses on exposure to online ed

Regarding the perception of online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was found that more than 70% of faculty members both from private and government colleges agreed that tracking students is difficult during online classes. More than 50% of both government and private faculties felt that although theory syllabus can be completed through online classes simulation of practical exercise is not possible through these types of classes. As this pandemic affected every field so brutally that teachers felt that students should remain prepared for every situation and that's why they agreed to the fact that online classes should be given some weightage in the syllabus and that's why results were found to be significant for this question. Half of the faculty members of government and private colleges thought that it is possible to take sessional examinations by these classes whereas half of the respondents (50%) contradict this statement [Table 2].

Table 2:
Responses on perception of online class during COVID-19 pandemic

Regarding the practice of online classes by faculties, the majority of staff from government and private colleges said that mostly there were 1–2 classes in a week. A laptop was used by the maximum number of respondents, that is, government (77.8%) and private (81.5%) as modes for taking online classes. About 50% of government faculties and 59.5% of private faculty members used zoom as an online platform tool for taking classes whereas others used the Google meet app for taking classes. Powerpoint (government 77.8% and private 95.6%) was the most popular tool used for taking these classes as compared to other modes of presentation [Table 3].

Table 3:
Responses on practice of online class during COVID-19 pandemic


After the declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, the government of India declared lockdown all over the country from March 22, 2020. Due to this, academic sessions of dental colleges which include theory classes, seminars, clinical postings, practical demonstrations, and much more came to a pause, and hence, after some time, universities asked colleges to start online classes for the benefit of children and to catch up with their academic activities.

According to a study done by Jena,[1] it has been found that COVID-19 has augmented the adoption of digital technologies to deliver education. Educational institutions moved toward a blended mode of learning. It reinvigorated all teachers and students to become more technology savvy. New ways of delivery and assessments of learning opened immense opportunities for a major transformation in the area of curriculum development and pedagogy. It also gives access to large pools of learners at a time[1] and this is similar to our study as the percentage of faculties who had conducted any online class was almost nil but after the pandemic hit and new system involved, more than 80% of staff started taking classes and this is due to that fact that once it was essential to take classes plus this was the only way by which education can be delivered to students without any hindrance.

Shrestha et al.[3] in their study concluded that more than 50% of teachers used the Zoom app for conducting online classes which was quite similar to the results of our study. This is because of ease in creating a link by ZOOM and due to its rapid popularity in the lockdown period, it became one of the best tools to teach and share information It is a practical app both for the government and private college teachers who wish to take classes virtually.[5] Most of the staff members of both types of institutions confirmed the fact that there is a lot of distraction during online learning, the decorum of sessions is also difficult to attain which is also seen in studies done before the present one.[6] Furthermore, only 100 students can be added to the Zoom class at a time so many students were left during the class of learning and teaching.[7]

Both faculty members of government and private institutions felt that it was not possible to give practical knowledge, manage sessional, and university examinations online which is similar to study done by Stewart[8] and the reason behind this is that this whole system is very new for everybody adapting the whole process will take time and with slow and steady steps, it can be achieved in the future scenario. This type of learning process may be currently supported for faculty members to deliver lectures and to provide opportunities for professional development, but still, there are more matters which need content development such as teaching strategies and assessment tools that have a very important role in increasing student's interest.[9]

There were some limitations to the study, as this study is done in both types of faculty members of institutions all over India, it was not accessible to send the questionnaire to every member, also teachers who replied can be biased while submitting the form. Hence, it is our concern for upcoming researchers to collect a clearer vision and results should be concluded by doing a survey university wise and then a comparison should be made.


COVID-19 has affected the Indian pedagogue sector vastly. Although it is created several difficult situation for universities to create a sleek path of providing education to students, it had opened new chances for advancement within the education sector. Several unwanted issues such as difficulty in a network, less E-tech friendly employees, and students area unit the final issues that area unit to be overcome. Within the current survey, it had been ascertained that private and government dental colleges tried to figure at their best to cope up with a scenario, virtually 1/2 the members were not tuned in to online categories; however, they showed keen interest to beat these unfavorable things. Because of smart money services and a vigorous body department, it had been straightforward for private colleges to rearrange categories. Each form of faculty united to the proven fact that it is unfeasible to complete all the tasks of a session by these online categories. Therefore, at last, we can say that private dental college faculty members have a positive influence on this new system and it is the requirement of the hour for each academic establishment to strengthen their information and data as well as technology infrastructure to be prepared for facing COVID-19 like things.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


We would like to thanks all the faculties who had participated in this online survey.


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Colleges; COVID-19; dental; education; pandemic

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