COVID-19 PANDEMIC: CHALLENGE ON EDUCATION SYSTEM
WRITES DR JAGADINDRA RAYCHOUDHURY- AN ACADEMICIAN AND A MEDIA COLUMNIST BASED IN GUWAHATI
It is well known to all that the impact of coronavirus has already taken a grasp across the globe, the deadly virus i.e. COVID-19 to have ever come across. Different types of viruses exposed time to time like Ebola virus, Nipah virus but earlier viruses were restricted to a particular region or to a state but this time the deadly coronavirus has spread out all over the world within a short span of time. The effect of this virus is more effectual in developed countries than the underdeveloped countries. India is a vast country with different creeds and cast, moreover a good number of people are living in an unhygienic condition, yet Indian government along with all of its states took a precautionary measure for not spreading of the deadly virus and as a result mortality rate is very less in comparison to developed countries. The best measure is taken by Indian government is the total lock down process across the country and advising people to remain inside besides their very essential needs. The effect of lockdown impact focuses a setback to all sectors like economy, tourism etc. but drastically in education system. The state governments across the country began shutting down schools, colleges and universities temporarily as a measure for not spreading novel coronavirus with immediate effect.
No doubt, each and every sector of various departments has faced a severe setback due to novel coronavirus but out of these the education system faced a high altitude as this is a crucial time for everyone, right from nursery to higher classes. Admission of nursery schools, board examination, various entrance tests for competitive examinations like engineering or medical sectors along with entrance test of various universities are generally held during this period. It is to be noted that uncertainty prevails due to outbreak of COVID-19 and no short cut solution is open till this date. The continuity of learning process has to be culminated immediately in view of this deadly virus where more than 285 millions of young learners in India are badly affected.
To compensate the learning process in minimum ways the school or college authorities have started the online teaching classes but this is only in a handful of private schools and colleges. The facility of e-learning process in government running schools is not available. Neither teaching staff nor the students are adopted in this process. In a state like Assam, some private T.V. channels have started some teaching-learning process by some reputed teachers from coaching institute or teachers from prominent schools but that will not be sufficient for those aspiring students who will sit for competitive examinations. It is known to us that the effect of coronavirus is much higher in European countries and some Asian country than India but the students who were studying in U.K., U.S.A., Australia, China etc. would be the worst sufferer as nobody knows when the effect of deadly virus will come to an end. If the shutting down process continues for a long run then these students might lose one year of their academic season.
In this present scenario, it is not possible to ascertain when the entire community of human being across the world will be free from this deadly viral disease. Under this circumstance, the teaching communities have to think an alternative way of teaching besides chalk duster teaching on the black board. If each subject experts in respective colleges introduce some new apps and advised their students to follow their series of lectures through the specific app then it may fulfill the students’ requirements in to some extent. This is the only way to teach students at this present condition as per my knowledge concern. But the poor sections of students might have deprived of this facility so they must approach to the appropriate authority to provide them free internet facility to compensate their poverty. Not to speak of this pandemic novel coronavirus, now the time has reached to change our teaching methodology to e-learning process. Student’s communities may also get the advantage of teaching learning process of their interest from other expertise teacher from any part of India or abroad through this e-learning system.
According to the UNESCO report that over 154 crore students hit by the closure of their educations institute due to COVID-19 outbreak and girls are the worst sufferer. The Assistant Director- General for Education, Stefania Giannini has expressed in an interview that “ shutting down of schools due to COVID-19 pandemic comes with a warning of potential for increased dropout rates which will disproportionately affect adolescent girls, further entrench gender gaps in education and lead to increase risk of sexual exploitation, early pregnancy and each and forced marriage.’’
Stefania Giannini expresses as “out of total population of students enrolled in education globally, we estimate that over 89 percent are currently out of school because of COVID-19. This represents 154 crore students enrolled in school or university, including nearly 74 crore girls. Over 11 crore of these girls are living in the world’s least developed countries where getting an education is already a struggle.
Giannini also said due to outbreak of COVID-19, “closure of educational institutions, even if temporary, is problematic for various reasons. Firstly, the reduction in instructional time impacts learning achievement. When schools close, educational performance suffers. Disrupting schooling also leads to other harder to measure losses, including inconveniences to families and decreased economic productivity as parents struggle to balance work obligation with children.’’
We may adopt various means to mitigate the problem of learning teaching system of education in future perspective but sudden shutting down of educational institutes create a great setback to the students communities. As most of our teaching system in India has been running with a traditional one except a few, so there is no possibility to introduce a new method of teaching under this present scenario. We cannot even measure the time frame which is required to end of this pandemic COVID-19 but at best we can sacrifice the ensuing summer break which will be unanimously accepted by both the institutional authorities as well as students’ communities. Whatever means we would like to create to mitigate the teaching learning process but a gap will be still persist in our education system for some period of time as we are totally handicapped under this state of affairs which is globally outbreak to challenge the human communities for the first time.