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When pandemic messes up education

When pandemic messes up education
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When pandemic messes up education 

Highlights

Yes, corona pandemic made education as clear as mud

Yes, corona pandemic made education as clear as mud. It seems that this year the younger generation may not get a chance to enjoy their classroom air due to pandemic Covid-19. Though the Union government has released unlock 5.0, it made it clear that it is the prerogative of the States whether to allow or not allow student tribe to attend the classes. Further, it has pretty clearly said that for this limited activity also, nod of parents is compulsory. It gives the impression that after the said date also the normal activity of the schools looks like as a mirage as per the norms fixed by Union government. Various State governments are following diverse strategies to satisfy the learning needs of the student tribe that are forcibly clogged by the pandemic.

The pandemic has thrown its vicious paw on the enthusiasm of the children in a new academic year and tumbledown that festive mood in society. From the tender age to teenage, the younger generations will start their life afresh by ignoring the bygone year and its shades on their academic life. The parents, teachers, school management, and all the stakeholders in the sphere of the education system are waiting passionately for the reopening of the schools after their enforced vacation. However, due to the pandemic Covid-19, everything has been disturbed and uncertainty prevailed everywhere in the arena of education.

The coronavirus and its rapacious nature have forced the authorities to initiate changes in the normal procedure and process of education and exams. Owing to the pandemic coronavirus, the basic components of the education system that are the classroom, instruction and both the theory and practical examinations are subjected to change their original form to avoid viral transmission among the younger generations. It is presumable that we are going to experience a sea of change in all these processes and the governments are still not able to carve out any specific design to begin the process to avoid this contagion infection and transmission. However, our Andhra Pradesh government has shown its keenness on opening schools by giving facelift to them by launching NAADU-NEDU programme. It is my personal opinion that if everything goes right, surely the public sector schools are going to dominate with the implementation of NAADU-NEDU. Let us think about the changes and possibilities to make our younger generations academically agile.

There is no doubt that the classroom according to Kothari is the place where the country's destiny is shaped but today that dictum has to be altered. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become tough for the schools to adopt themselves to sail smoothly. The classroom has lost its significance because in no case it will satisfy the measures to prevent the transmission of viruses such as maintaining social distance, sanitation, and washing hands. Generally, normal classrooms were built keeping in view of accommodating 40 or 50 students hence maintaining of social distance appears like a pipe dream. The only alternative is online teaching, but it is also not satisfying 100 percent of children because it will be a bad wish to expect that all children should have the smartphones in their hands. Therefore, to reach more number of students it is better to continue the classes through the Doordarshan and to go for online instruction or online distance learning (ODL). At present, most of the States are following this route because TV is an efficient media to reach the student tribe. The unlock 5.0 is also insisting for online classes and distance mode of learning. It is noticeable that the parent tribe is also not ready to send their wards to the schools until their managements ensure the safety of the same.

Instruction is the area where we can see more ground-breaking changes that can support the learning of the child during this pandemic. We are all aware of that teaching a complex process and no gadget can replace the teacher. However, these difficult circumstances for the teaching-learning process are making online instruction is the best practice to keep the students engaged in the learning process. The teachers of the contemporary era should have to adapt themselves to the digital teaching techniques that can help them in teaching.

The coronavirus has compelled the teaching tribe to explore the students through various means to compensate the skipped classes during the consequent lockdown and unlock periods. It is well and good itself to produce tech-savvy teachers to face future challenges that can disturb the normal schooling process. The teaching tribe is now using various apps like WhatsApp, Zoom, Jio Meet and webinars for the instruction. The NCERT and SCERT's of the States are involving the teaching tribe in various activities to safeguard the interests of the children. Further, the Unlock 5.0 rules have given free hand to the State governments to allow the academic activity in the schools by following preventive measures of pandemic.

Assessment is the conventional process through that we can only assess the scholastic achievement of the children. However, many reform committees were opined that they are stress mounting, yet our system has no option. They are useful to promote and certify the completion of a particular course; further, useful to determine the qualification as academic and professional. However, the pandemic corona had a severe effect on this process because it requires a conducive environment for the conduct of the same. Now, the universities and many testing agencies are on the track and administering various exams successfully by following the Covid norms. The percentage of attendance speaks that the students and their parents are not panic towards the pandemic.

The UGC has already instructed all the universities to promote all the students except final semester and made it clear to complete the final year exams by September 30 with all precautionary measures that can prune the infections rate among students. It is noticeable that some deemed universities and others have already started the examinations in online mode to avoid the dislocation of the academic schedule. So, at present, administering examinations in online mode is the best option. After the successful administration of NEET and JEE entrance tests all over the country and APPSC exams for Secretariat staff has given enough confidence to the authorities to propel their future endeavours.

Yes, it is a fact that the pandemic has made many things nebulous and messy; it is the right time for us to think positively. We have been compelled to fight with an invisible contagion and at the same time to complete our task without any damage. By practising, the preventive measures to check the viral transmission we need to move on positively with great confidence. It is so right that "Instead of worrying about what you cannot control, shift your energy to what you can create".

- E Gajendra Nath Reddy, Badvel, Kadapa dist, AP

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