22 Jan 2021
Words will never be enough to describe what the world went through the past year. Every day a new number flashed on our TV screen and we kept praying not to be counted in it. There were incessant conversations about Covid-19 and how it was affecting each one of us. There were ample discussions about everything ranging from the scarcity of Maggi in lockdown to the recessing economy. There were discussions about the present state of the country to the future recovery of our country. In all of this, one thing that comparatively went under the radar was how Covid-19 was affecting the students, how it wreaked havoc in the life of teachers, students, and even parents.
The impact COVID-19 had on our education system cannot be termed as just negative or positive. It was a combination of both. It showed the fallacy of our education system and how ill-prepared we were to tackle something like a pandemic.
- The pandemic brought to the fore the truth that there’s more to students’ development than just the education found in the books. The loss of co-curricular activities, the lack of communication with friends hampered the personality development of students.
- It also affected higher education with board exams, entrance exams getting delayed. With the lockdown forcing the closure of school and coaching institutes it impeded the preparation of the students.
- One of the biggest things, the pandemic brought to the forefront is the economic disparity in our country. The well to do families were better equipped to handle and provide quality education to their kids with their kids already studying in schools with good infrastructure to provide online education with the students also having access to technology at home. On the other end of the spectrum were kids, who had to remain hungry because they no longer had access to mid-day meals in school provided to them. These were the students, the pandemic truly affected. They had to not only worry about education but nutrition as well. The lack of school infrastructure in government schools as well as lack of technology at home also put an obstruction in their education.
- Another impact was the lack of employment opportunities for fresh graduate students as companies halted their fresh hiring keeping in mind the uncertain future during the pandemic. Many other graduates with offers were worried that companies will withdraw their offers citing the pandemic.
- One of the biggest positives to come out of this pandemic is the accelerated adoption of technology and its integration into our education system. From E-books to video lectures, the Covid crisis is paving the way for blended teaching and learning techniques for students. And with the increasing use of technology in every other field, it’s a right step towards the future.
- The inclusion of technology has led to students having worldwide exposure. Their education is not only formed now of the information contained in the books but with information from sources around the world which in turn makes the student better informed.
- The pandemic has improved the preparedness of educational institutions for another natural disaster as well. The institution is better prepared to provide online education in case of natural disasters without affecting the education of the students.
The positives and the negatives raise a very distinct question in the mind of parents. How useful or useless are our schools and colleges if online education becomes the way of the future? The answer would not be that simple. Some fields, such as engineering and medical sciences will always require classrooms and labs. Our schools provide a disciplined environment for fickle and restless kids. The lesson to take forward will be the effective integration of online means education in the classrooms and the shifting role of teachers from a mere transmitter of knowledge to a facilitator of knowledge. Online education cannot replace classroom education due to the personalized nature of attention and face to face interactions, but it can be an effective supplement to the brick-and-mortar model of education.