The unprecedented public health crisis has put the world’s second largest populous nation under the biggest lockdown in human history. The government did take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by ordering immediate closure of all educational institutions, but it has put the future of students in a limbo.
Since the sudden announcement of the first lockdown on 24 March, the situation has only gone from bad to worse. The education authorities find themselves in a predicament about how to continue to impart education.
Most educational institutions have taken refuge in the use of information technology. The digital era has made it possible to communicate effectively.
The educators and students have quickly adapted to the challenging circumstances by shifting their lessons from blackboards to computer screens. To promote continuity of teaching and learning, technology is bound to play a major role in the future. Learning through radio, television and online programmes are likely to become the new normal.
What needs to be kept in mind that to ensure implementing seamless e-Learning curriculums the internet accessibility needs to be improved, compatible technology has to be in place, quality, modes of study material and duration of study need to be of engaging enough to interest the students.
Need of the hour is to go beyond the conventional role. Teachers have to be creative by making the lessons interactive and provocative to make the learning process of interest to the student community. Technical skills are necessary for both students and teachers.
Designing different types of courses that cater to different age groups are a must because primary and secondary school level students are more reliant on their teachers when compared with high school and college going students. Family supervision by parents of e-Learning courses would be necessary.
But before we switch to completely adopt online education, we cannot ignore the importance of school. The idea of education is not only limited to report card or degree but also all rounded development. Educational Institutions are a place for socialization and nurturing of skills. It provides a sense of belongingness, a safe haven to grow personality, most crucial it brings exposure to subjects and ideas that are not found in a students daily life at home.
To ensure continuity of education policymakers have to re-invent the system. The education sector must be ready to adapt and evolve to this change. Technology and IT is here to stay and play a major part in the revolutionizing education.
The government must bring out guidelines for distance learning when all the institutions of the country are temporarily shut. Disruptions in the education sector can prove costly not only for the students but also for the future of the country.
Holding a master’s degree in Economics from Punjab University, Aditi Sharma is pursuing a masters course in Journalism from Amity University, Noida. A Yoga practitioner with a flair for calligraphy and organic gardening, Aditi has been decorated with a silver medal for her volunteer work with Global Cancer Concern India.