Chandigarh

HIGH POWERED COMMITTEE NEEDED TO TACKLE DISRUPTION IN EDUCATION CAUSED BY COVID-19

August 07, 2020 08:51 AM

Chandigarh (Face2News)

Vinesh Menon
    The impact of the restrictions arising from the novel corona virus has been particularly severe on students as far as education is concerned. Ever since the lockdown was announced, schools have been closed and there has been break in classroom education for them. In fact a week before the lockdown was announced, the government had decided to shut down schools.

Said Mr. Vinesh Menon, CEO - Education, Skilling & Consulting Services, Ampersand Group, “We all know that when a school closes a cascade of adverse effects follow. These vary from a disruption in lessons to a sudden breakage in the teacher–child–parent interaction to disturbance in the flow of students who have been toiling hard to prepare for annual examinations to even something as rudimentary as explaining to smaller children about what really caused the school shut down.”

According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) and the United Nations, 39 countries across three continents have closed schools due the virus outbreak. This has led to over 500 million students being kept away from school to ensure social distancing and to stem the spread of the virus.

The shutdown of the schools and break in physical classrooms has encouraged Ed-tech companies to surge their offerings in the online education space. Leading known players as well as relatively unknown start-ups have all started positioning themselves as the ideal alternative to ensure that children continue to learn during this period. Some of the educational organisations have digital platforms, while others have content, some are heavily dependent on the internet connectivity, whereas others have platforms that are single directionally interactive. The prerogative to run these online alternatives remain with the schools and hence one finds some schools doing it, while many others are not and a third set watching by the side.

The shutdown of the schools and break in physical classrooms has encouraged Ed-tech companies to surge their offerings in the online education space. Leading known players as well as relatively unknown start-ups have all started positioning themselves as the ideal alternative to ensure that children continue to learn during this period. Some of the educational organisations have digital platforms, while others have content, some are heavily dependent on the internet connectivity, whereas others have platforms that are single directionally interactive. The prerogative to run these online alternatives remain with the schools and hence one finds some schools doing it, while many others are not and a third set watching by the side.

Not many government schools seems to have adopted this approach as yet and hence clearly the whole online alternative to schooling is:

1. Very discretionary and restricted to few private schools who can afford this program
2. Non-standardised and hence content / teaching approach varies from school to school
3. Accessible only to the privileged entitled few due to unstable internet connectivity

Said Menon, “As the environment gets challenging the government should set up a High Powered Special Education Task Force to tackle the disruption this virus has caused to lakhs of young minds. The task force can be a mix of bureaucrats, educationists, school owners and policy makers and chaired by the HRD Minister.”

The task force should focus on a few key areas:
1. Curriculum continuity, method of teaching and replicating the classroom model, connect with tier 2 and 3 cities’ schools and financial intervention to allow better connectivity.
2. While alternatives exist to ensure continuity in teaching during this disruptive phase, a bit of structured approach by the Education Regulator will help in ensuring an effective learning outcome for the 200 million odd children who are counting on our education system to sail through their 14 years of learning uninterrupted.

 
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