By Sraban Kumar Bag
It is unarguably an accepted proposition that, ‘the pandemic ‘Corona’ has brought a great deal of concern on the present education system of our country, particularly to the classroom process, curriculum planning and preparation for the next academic session’. As we know the outbreak of this pandemic took place at the phase end of the academic session when almost all of the grades, across levels (Elementary, Secondary, College, and University) and Boards were about to conduct their term end examination and getting prepared for the new session. But due to this outbreak the country went on locked-down initially for a period of 21 days and further extended till 3rd May and this will be followed by the summer vacation as well.
Thus, one can certainly remark that the future of children, aspirants and the whole of education system of the country is passing through a difficult phase. Probably this is the first time in the history of our education system when the whole of the Nation has remained stagnant. It has raised several concerns for the teachers, administrators, educational planners to overcome the issues of ‘learning crisis’ and ensuring the ‘fundamental right of every child for getting equitable and quality education’.
Exploring thoughts from different stakeholders’, interactions with children, teachers and educationists through different means it was observed that though everyone have realised the seriousness of the situation but also they are of the view that, it is high time to drive a prolonged and comprehensive strategy to overcome the situation through different initiatives and interventions at Process, Parenting, Program and Policy level. Here are few suggestive strategies as compiled from their views:
Though we are living in the 21st Century where technology has entered to every aspect of our life but the physical presence, interaction and overall the unseen relation (bonding) between pupil and teacher cannot be ignored. Further expecting all (teacher and student) to be an immediate overnight expert using technology enabled or integrated class is a just like a fairy-tale at least in our context. Also because of the lockdown many parents who are economically not sufficient cannot afford such a process. Similarly, it is also not permissible to hold classes and put every ones’ life into danger soon after the lockdown is over. So, authority must restrain making undue request and forcibly using a new pedagogic process without any preparation.
It is the best time to involve the parents and community to the larger education process by appealing them to take ownership for few months and at least ensure the learning environment around the child is sustained. So that she or he does not lose interest in the teaching learning process. Concepts like ‘Positive parenting’ be disseminated and popularized. Further to make the best use of time and situation they may be advised to teach different moral values, humanitarian deeds one would expect from every responsible citizen. Appeal should also be made that the parents do different types of mental exercises relating to basic operations, behavioural pattern among their children. Moreover, parental aspiration and ambition should not crush the child’s potentiality. It has to be seen from the broader percept of “connecting life to classroom and school”.
A bigger role has to be played by the system at this time. During the vacation days, the system must prepare itself to ensure things like availability of free text-books, teaching learning materials and other necessary items (including sanitary, safety kit) reaches to every school point. Further teachers must be encouraged, and capacitated enough to handle the situation once the school is opened and situation gets restored. The next level monitoring of educational administration should focus on learning enhancement rather than the fiscal and infrastructural elements. It must be noted that teacher should not be pressurized to complete the syllabus, rather pedagogy of teaching-learning process be practiced in its true spirit. At the same time the thought and action for a new academic calendar be geared up at all state level looking at the feasibility of their respective state. This may be shortening the number of holidays, conducting extra class and extending the closing days of next year session as well. The most important call has to be taken at curriculum planning level. Where scope and space be created to integrate the disaster component in the syllabus in future.
The major commitment should come from both the teaching fraternity and system level as well, whereby the teachers must not be denied of their rights and social status. Rather they may be appreciated and acknowledged in every possible manner. Recruitment of regular teacher and motivation for teacher should also go side by side as well. Last but not the least, that the system should internalise that education is an investment not expenditure and accordingly budget be provisioned.
In conclusion we may only say that, every problem has a solution and it can only be best achieved through positive thoughts and actions. Let’s pray the darkness on humanity passes away soon and together we all see a new morning where there is no place for illiteracy, ignorance and illusion.
(Sraban Kumar Bag can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)