One of the major dilemmas the authorities are facing during these testing times is the stand that needs to be taken as far as the education sector is concerned. The sector that has witnessed a closure for almost one and a half year now has raised several questions especially when it comes to deal with the issue of higher education.
Though we understand that at the junior level the class work can afford to remain suspended for few more months, but when it comes to higher levels, continuing with the same decision can prove disastrous.
Right now we have reached nowhere in the fight against the novel coronavirus as even the vaccine candidate that was undergoing third level trials has been put off for any further tests. This simply means that we no longer know the timeline for the availability of the vaccine against the coronavirus.
However, all said and done the decision to open up education sector needs to be taken cautiously as the sector has already witnessed a severe loss of academic days, a loss that will for sure hurt the student’s community in the long run.
Perhaps, it is this consideration that the authorities in the School Education department are mulling to restart the education process at High, Secondary and Higher Secondary levels amid new Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and guidelines issued by the Government of India (GoI).
Initially, it is being planned that the students of 10th, 11th and 12th standard will be allowed to visit their respective schools on voluntary basis and only half the number of students will be permitted to take physical classes while as the rest will be offered guidance via the online mode.
The bid to start classes and examinations thereafter is a very tricky question, one that even the authorities are not finding an answer to. But one thing is certain that education sector needs to be brought back on track.
This can only happen when strict guidelines and a well thought out strategy is put in place so that the classwork as well as the examination schedule is ensured that will benefit the students without putting them to trouble or any sort of health risks.
The authorities need to remove the provisions that allow symptomatic candidates who insist on taking an exam, to do so in isolation. The rules need to be bend here and reexamination in all streams be made a provision across the board so that any students does not fail to get a chance to sit in the examination.
Besides, appropriate arrangements for personal protection gears like face covers or masks, and other logistics like hand sanitisers, soap, sodium hypochlorite solution and other such items should be made available by universities, educational institutions, examination conducting authorities or examination centres to the staff as well as students as per the requirements.
Besides, the timing for examinations also needs to be revisited and enough time be provided to the students to write their examinations as additional health requirements will prove to be an impediment for the students and reduce the speed of their performance.