We all are anxiously waiting for a magical spell that will help us to live our primeval life once again and revive the pleasures of shopping, excursions, get-together parties and meals, festivals, school activities and many valuable moments of our life. Amidst this situation, students are eagerly waiting to meet up with friends and teachers. A pause in their primary level schooling seems to diminish their interest and hinder their mind development. This unresolved situation has left us in a tough spot.
Being one of the fifth deadliest pandemics in the world that humans have confronted in its history of existence, it is caused by an infectious virus that spread in the later half of December of 2019. Recently, 6.76 million cases have been recorded. Stabilisation in the growing cases is next to nil. Many countries are in the process of developing medicine.
It has left an immense impact on developing nations, worldwide. Students and their education have also suffered as they are unable to go to schools and colleges. This pandemic has led to closure of schools and colleges, affecting about 1.277 billion students. Online education has undoubtedly resolved some issues but it cannot be the ultimate solution. For primary school students, teachers are coming up with new innovative teaching methods and are constantly organising online competitive activities like painting, dancing, fancy dress, singing, writing etc. to instill hope and creative skills among them. Along with that motivational studies have now become a necessity. Parents are doing their best to create a conducive environment.
We can’t stop their primary development and the basic education that nurtures their minds. But consistent use of electronic gadgets have resulted in hormonal imbalance leading to anxiety, stress, fatigue, obesity and many health related hazards. Due to the pandemic we are all locked up in our homes, yearning to go out again.
Depression is making a frequent appearance these days, as many schools and colleges are in a hurry for completion of various courses and exams, which becomes a burden on students and their families as well. There are many cases of dropouts this year, not only due to pandemic but also due to the pressure of online education. Students are making their best efforts to compensate for the losses, they are cooperating and supporting every strategy to save this year. Closure of Educational Institutes hampered student’s social interaction with friends, we know peer learning is as essential as classroom learning where discussions on various topics inculcate study habits in children. But in these unfortunate times less interaction and no such activities, have affected their imagination, thinking and coping skills and less understanding of the subject. For them no sports and outings are the kind of barriers they are facing. Along with this, people are facing many other problems like- food insecurity, homelessness, job insecurity etc. The disadvantages of obstructed education, insufficient nutrition, health hazards and economic crises have been observed worldwide. Looking at the statistical decline of students dropouts, it’s reported very high in Assam, primary dropout rates are 10.1% whereas it is 33.7% in case of secondary ones, similarly Bihar (30.3), Odisha(28.7), Karnataka and many other states of India have increased number of dropouts. In conclusion, the reasons are mostly economic conditions and health conditions related. UNICEF’s recent report states closures of 53 educational Institutes in nations worldwide.
However there are few major steps taken all over the world to limit the Coronavirus cases while also not hampering education. Although we come to know that the online education system is not up to the mark as in India and a large portion of the economically weaker section is unable to afford computers or smartphones to continue their studies. There is less parental support for studies in poorer families as they simply focus on bringing up their families while fulfilling only basic needs that are required to live a normal happy life. In general, they don’t really have many expectations.
SKCF took an initiative to distribute smartphones among students who could not afford them, so that they could attend their online virtual classes. Similarly there are many people helping out in such situations. Students and teachers are planning different teaching methods. In many states, they are broadcasting their lectures on doordarshan channel, making use of community radios and have initiated learning among all. Following the way, NCERT has created the alternative academic calendars for different subjects. SMS and voice recording can be used, so they can access them without internet connectivity. Various applications like the e- resources, e- pathshala etc. are the pillars supporting our education system. One drawback observed is the loss of nutrition among children, as about 12 crore students were provided the mid-day meal facilities, but the pandemic has put a lid on that too.
These are hard times and we don’t know what the future holds, but in this situation technology has proved to be a great tool. It has assisted and saved us from serious decline and since things have started to look up again, we must persevere too.
Read about: Learnings amidst a pandemic