Every few hundred years, there comes a pandemic that changes the course of how we live. These events change the way of life for the better (most of the time).
It provides us an opportunity to PAUSE, RETHINK, and RESTRUCTURE.
At present we all are going through a similar situation. Covid’19 has pressed the PAUSE button on our life.
Remember, it’s not STOP but a PAUSE, as PAUSE gives us an opportunity to think and act which we normally miss in PLAY mode.
One of the most affected aspects of our lives today is Education. Look around and you will see happy and tensed students, anxious and irritated mothers, struggling and committed teachers.
As education has shifted from offline to online mode, there is a plethora of reactions and effects depending on where you belong. Ie. your socio-economic status.
Are you an urban or rural student?
Are you a preschooler, school going, undergrad, or postgrad student?
Are you from an economically weaker sector student?
Are you from a geographically remote location student?
Are you studying abroad?
Many more such questions decide the effectiveness of online/offline education.
Amidst the pandemic, our govt has introduced National Education Policy 2020. As with every new announcement, there were positive, negative, neutral reactions from students, parents, teachers, academicians.
The major highlights of NEP2020: Schooling to begin from the age of 3years, Mother tongue as medium of instruction, a single regulatory body for higher education, the separation between subjects stream to be blurred, 5+3+3+4 program, academic bank of credits among other features.
Our country and population are vast and implementing any policy successfully is the most challenging work. I feel Covid PAUSE has given an opportunity to policymakers and implementors.
Let’s see the preschool/school scenario of
Before Covid, he/she was attending offline school.
During Covid, he/she is attending an online school.
Developed Rural school:
Before Covid, he/she was attending offline school.
During Covid he/she is/might be attending online school.
Remote Rural school:
Before Covid, he/she might be attending offline school.
During Covid he/she is not going online/offline school.
The education continued for urban and developing rural schools. Only the platform of education has changed from offline to online. When the parents are educated or concerned about their children’s education they will take every effort to make their child remain in the academic flow. The challenges of financial low-down due corona affected economy or additional burden of handling the requirement of online schooling from teachers and aware parents do it all, willingly or out of compulsion.
However, the percentage of urban/developing rural students is competitive to tribal/remote area schools in our country. India is still a developing country and how to earn daily bread is still a major worry for millions. It is these people who affected severely due to pandemics. The impact of the crumbling economy was faced by them the most. How do we even expect that they can learn online? Children from lower socio-economy groups have low literary environments and chronic stress that affect learning. This pandemic has almost stopped their education. The only school in their area is closed and is unable to conduct online classes. In order to conduct online classes, the first and foremost requirement is to have a device (mobile) and a data network. Nowadays almost 90% of people have mobile phones but the challenge is when the entire family has only 1 phone. Downloading related APP (maybe google meet/whats app/zoom), software compatibility with hardware, registration into the app are things which we, being urbanite, don’t even notice. But here, for this strata, it’s an everyday challenge. And when something becomes a daily struggle, eventually you lose interest in it and you give up. For them, it doesn’t matter which NEP is in force. The ease and availability of basic human needs are of prime importance. Very few parents are aware of the importance of education. It is these parents who in spite of the difficulties I mentioned above managed to keep their children’s education going.
There will be positives and negatives for any policy which will be implemented in a country like ours. What is more important is to prepare the soil before planting a seed. The soil of our education system is malnourished due to various reasons. It’s very important to nourish this soil if we want better produce. We need to understand that in our country inequality resides on all levels. When we strive to reduce this inequality, automatically the soil of education starts nourishing. It’s a long and continual process and has to be carried out in a committed manner.
Expecting 100% transformation in our education system due to NEP2020 is an expectation which we should not expect.
When the world remains in FLAWS it will struggle to find SOLUTIONS. Only the percentage of FLAWS decides how far we are from the IDEAL WORLD.
And IDEAL WORLD is a myth.
Very soon temporary PAUSE button will be switched to PLAY and we all will be in full strength to play the game of Life once again.
Love n Light,
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