Why We May Have To Rebuild The Education Set-Up After The Pandemic?

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by Sadaket Ali Malik

The teaching and learning need to be revisited afresh, the exclusion in education survey is to be conducted to check the dropout rates of those who need inclusion. The most vulnerable groups, disabled, and rural students need motivation. Parent-teacher meets and other community-based workshops involving panchayats need to be involved while preparing a new scheme of education

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the policymakers at the global level are worried about the education after the lockdown as there are hundreds of problems that prevail. It is anticipated that the pandemic will have a serious effect on global education goals set for the world.

Chained Children: Their school is shut for the last three days. The authorities have put their education under curfew as well. But today these kids come out openly and walk to their tuition centres by hand in hand. (File photo)

The UNESCO has said that the sustainable development goals of education (SDG4) which were dreamed to be achieved by 2030 is now a farfetched dream owing to the disruption of education which has, in turn, led to the increase in financing gaps of education. This may also lead to the different issues pertaining to the world educational arena viz increase in dropout rate will become a problem. The Problem of exclusion will pave a way for entrenched gender disparity.

In India, we have issued several best practices to stem the rot for ensuring the education remains an all-inclusive affair. Digital learning platforms are being activated. But the million-dollar question remains: how the nation sees the future repercussions once the lockdown is over? Due to the disruption in education, it is expected that few children will go back to the school when schools reopen, and a few may not. Another peculiar problem we are expected to see is social distancing, little or no sports, social distancing may lead to getting socially distant.

So the teaching and learning rhythm will need to be redefined. The academic fraternity will have to give up the habit of remote learning initiatives that have led to the exclusion. Technology alone will not help in rebuilding the education system afresh. Technology might be about the content and not the container.

The introduction of technology will help only the children of educated families and the rural poor will suffer more, this will further create a problem of the educational divide.

A lighter school bag may become a reality due to the technology in the schools.

The system of education might be changed; there might be a paradigm shift in educational methods and tools from traditional to most blended and personalised classrooms. The question of debate is that whether we as teachers, academician or policymakers thought as to what might be the learning outcomes of the online or digital learning, what are the study skills needed for the teacher and the taught, what are the re-skilling and up-skilling issues?

The debate in the academic circles regarding the examination and grades is raging. Some believe it might undergo change.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the educational future of the children is uncertain since August 2019. The problems here are manifold. Shutting down of the educational institutions in Kashmir was the primary one. It even impacted Jammu too.

The continuous shutting down of high-speed internet impacted online learning. It put the future of the students at stake. Then the outbreak of Covid-19 led to the further disruption of education by closing down of all the educational institutions in March 2020. Online learning became a farfetched dream to get access to learning. Majority of the students in Jammu as well as in Kashmir witnessed low access to online education.

Nevertheless, Directorate of School Education Jammu under the scheme of its vibrant model of online learning, and other best practices like reaching the students at doorsteps in this crisis period has been a path-breaking, painstaking and praiseworthy initiative. Reaching the students through textbooks and mid-day meals at their homes has become a novel exercise of the Director School Education Jammu, Anuradha Gupta.

The community classes by the teachers on their voluntary basis have been endorsed at the national level. Providing psychological support to the students, training, study skill up-gradation of students, frequent events have become leading exercises of the Directorate. The appreciable work by teams of teachers in developing e-content, the members of the Jammu and Kashmir Knowledge Network and other private TV Channels need a special mention here. School Education Directorate in Kashmir created bulk content through online platforms. Free laptops were distributed among some students.

Sadaket Ali Malik

The education system needs to be rebuilt afresh after the pandemic lockdown is over. The education needs special financing to end the entrenching gap of the rural-urban divide.

Government of India has very recently launched a national report of digital learning 2020 in which the skill and other digital initiatives have been envisaged. The New Education Policy 2020 has a thrust area of skill education and digital learning. But the challenges are still ahead as to how we can make them implements at the local level. We need slightly new tactics and methods of instruction as part of instruction.

The teaching and learning need to be revisited afresh, the exclusion in education survey is to be conducted to check the dropout rates of those who need inclusion. The most vulnerable groups, disabled, and rural students need motivation. Parent-teacher meets and other community-based workshops involving panchayats need to be involved while preparing a new scheme of education.

(The author is a school teacher, currently posted at Government High School Katal Batal in Nagrota. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Kashmir Life.)

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