Future challenges, solutions for education
While the Corona phase has raised new challenges in every field, it has also made the teaching process difficult and cumbersome. There are a number of factors that are needed to help students succeed online.
Internet-based learning has created a strange kind of urgency in students and teachers. Online tests are being taken immediately along with studies and there is no certainty about who is solving this test. Teachers are keen to teach children but children take advantage of the distance from the teacher, meaning they do not send homework on time or attend online classes and do not give proper feedback on what is being taught.
Now that the children have returned to school after a year and a half, we are seeing strange changes in their behavior. The students have strayed far from the disciplinary stream of the school. Great efforts are required to streamline the nature of the children. Incomplete and disadvantaged lame online education has created huge learning gaps among students which need an effective specialized action plan to fill. Children need to be taught and taught easily, just taking regular online Google quizzes will not fulfill the purpose of education.
The reopening of the school has made it difficult for teachers in English medium schools to interact with the children as the children have forgotten the school vocabulary. Online education during the has been badly affected by issues like poor internet network, lack of gadgets for children, poor financial condition of parents etc.
In online education, the classroom is flexible, children can learn in any situation, but coming to school requires a special kind of stressful effort for which the children are not yet ready. It takes time to integrate online education into offline education for some children. Habits at home have become such that after school, not only the children but also the teachers are feeling overwhelmed. Special conversations and exchanges with relatives are needed to change these natural tendencies.
Although schools have reopened, online education is still in vogue, putting a strain on children as well as teachers. There is a great need for Happy Learning in the field of education today. Children are allowed to study both offline or online, but this was not possible due to lack of facilities and physical resources required for education. The response of students and parents towards offline education of children in secondary classes i.e. ninth to twelfth is very good.
According to a survey report, attendance in government schools has gradually crossed the 90% mark. Preparations for the National Achievement Survey by the School Education Department are in full swing. Apart from students and teachers, senior and junior officials of the education department are also working hard for the better performance of the students at the national level. One activity at a time is being monitored by the education department. The academic progress of the children is being assessed through weekly meetings.
Despite strict adherence to the Covid-19 government guidelines, parents cannot be forced to send their children to physical classes, nor can children be expelled from school simply for non-attendance. Lack of education can also be filled by adding extra classes for children who come to school after a long hiatus.
Corona has a devastating effect on private schools. There is tension between parents and school administrators in many places over the demand for school closing fees by private schools, which is being reported in the media on a daily basis. Almost all parents of various private schools have not yet paid last year’s arrears of fees. The increased number of students in government schools is a major strength of these schools.
In terms of school attendance, students are divided into two sections in each section and are being called on alternate days to maintain social distance. Information technology tools are being used to spread and propagate education, WhatsApp groups of classes have been formed, where apart from study material, important information is also being shared with the children. The trend for live classes is much lower. The responsibilities of school principals have increased significantly.
Principals try to monitor if online classes are being conducted by their school teachers or what is the response to children’s attendance? But it is difficult for one person to monitor so many WhatsApp groups and the wide web. That is why teamwork is essential for a successful education system. The need of the hour is to strike the right balance between the use of human and technological means to implement the slogan of education for all while addressing the challenges of the education sector.
(The author is a Retired Principal based at Malout in Punjab)