Will COVID 19 impact our learning system phenomenally?

S Vishnu Sharmaa, INN/Chennai, @Svs03

Education in COVID 19 is all about the impact the outbreak of the coronavirus had on the education sector in India. The dreaded virus began showing its impact more than two months ago. Fortunately, India has implemented lockdown at a very early stage. While the standstill could prevent coronavirus from causing more problems, it also brought our economy to a halt. Academic affairs in our educational institutions also had to stop. This is the first impact noticed on Education in COVID 19. This year will perhaps have the recognition of being unique one, says T. Dharmendra Kumar, a physics teacher.

Unlike in the previous years where the impact was noticed only on economic sector predominantly, 2020 is the year where even education also has been affected. This is why 2020 will specially be remembered by all of us, he says. Why shouldn’t 2020 be unique? Asks K. Ramkumar, also a teacher by reminding that Education in COVID 19 has never managed to remain a smooth sailing one. Students are not able to access the classroom sessions nor are they able to reach the teachers for clearing their doubts, this has never happened in the previous years.

CBSE Exams have been postponed, also competitive exams like JEE Mains and NEET are postponed. All these things will go beyond all doubt say Education in COVID 19 has been affected. Delay in conducting NEET or JEE Mains will only mean that commencement of higher learning will be delayed and effect of this though may not be seen early will definitely be felt at a later stage. N. Krishnamurthy, a retired teacher says if Education in COVID 19 time begins late it is going to end late. Which means the prospects of commencing the career may also be beyond the planned time.

Education in COVID 19 has witnessed a boom of online learning. This has helped bridge the gap caused by absence of physical teaching. But not many are happy to take to online learning. Education in COVID 19 also proved that students and teachers need not be present physically in a same room for learning. Technology has given ample scope for learning without students and teachers being physically present in the same spot. Though there are some dissatisfaction with regards to online learning, the prominence of online systems for ensuring Education in COVID 19 time is witnessing a splendid growth.

Teaching in India largely surrounds the physical classrooms where the presence of a teacher and students in the same room is considered a requirement for efficient transfer of knowledge, says M.S. Athmaraman, a science teacher for 10th students. Also taking into consideration the point that our syllabus is not designed to suit online learning, the lessons taught online may not be that appealing for many students and may turn them into passive listeners. Foreign Education in COVID 19 has not remained the same now. All those countries which were considered bright spots for learning are now on the glimmering side. Not many may come forward to have the learning in the foreign land, thanks to the spread of corona virus. Obtaining permission from the parents for foreign Education in COVID 19 times may be herculean.

Though this phenomenon is likely to be of a shorter duration, the confidence with which students used to rush for foreign shores may not be seen now, this is another point with regards to Education in COVID 19. Even foreign shores also may not be welcoming students from abroad with an open heart for next few years, says M.N Das, an education consultant. Not only Education in COVID 19 but also employment prospects managed to evade students. Even those from prestigious institutions were not exempted when it came to losing job offers. The recent news about transport service provider Uber revoking jobs offers made to students from top management education institutions is a point worth mentioning in this regard. This is not the only one. Earlier, Gartner is said to have taken back the job offers it made.

Many institutions are also now working out alternatives like preparing the students for handling situations like cancelling job offers. And offering them fellowships with stipends to encourage them to step into research. Education in COVID 19 may see some noteworthy developments. It may teach institutions, students a new way of managing problematic situations like COVID 19. This may give rise to new courses which can teach students how to prepare for such pandemics in future, says veteran educationist K.S. Murthy.

He quickly reminds that even new ways of learning may come into being in future. Online learning will get required attention along with the regular system of teaching that involves physical presence of teachers and students, he says. Study materials regarding online learning and distance education may witness some improvement efforts. The study materials with regards to distance learning of many educational institutions are said to deserve improvement with regards to quality and quantity of the content. Making the study material good is a must amidst a situation when number of people taking refuge in online or distance learning is bound to increase owing to its advantages.

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