The COVID 19 pandemic had been a game-changer in many fields ever since its outbreak, in December 2019. It has spread to almost all the countries on earth and created a worldwide panic which is perhaps similar to the times of World War II. The normal lifestyle and environment had totally changed and the world is now searching for a ‘new normal.’ As the lockdown was extended repeatedly, things started to go out of control. Although the pandemic had its devastating effects on the world, for some sectors it proved to be a blessing. The education sector is one such area where the pandemic has proved to be a blessing in disguise.
The children are locked down in their homes and the access to education was very limited at the first phase. But things started to change with the introduction of online learning and the education sector seemed to have recovered fast from the pandemic driven slowdown. Now students are in such a position where they can say ‘education is at their fingertips’; which we never thought would be so comfortable for both the students and teachers. Before COVID the implementation of online learning was just theories or was accessed by only a smaller percentage of users. The traditional classroom atmosphere has changed to online classrooms and webinars.
The silver lining of this situation going out of control is the momentum achieved by online modes of teaching and learning. It can be considered as one of the positive effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. The Indian education system was really in need of a shift from its old ways of teaching and learning practices. The system only caters to the bookish knowledge aspect rather than the skill aspect; which is the real game-changer in today’s world. The present scenario has made it possible for students to access webinars and short term courses from distant universities, which was earlier the privilege of those who had a good internet connection and smart devices.
Online courses are taking the mainstream because it is much more convenient for the students who have the facilities to access it and they also make the teachers more competent. Only the fittest members of the teaching community will succeed in this online education scenario since it is a public academic activity and it demands fine, up to date teaching skills. The government too is pushing the online education and courses to mainstream education through the programs offered through the SWYAM portal.
On the flip side, online education has its demerits too. The real essence of education does not lie only in the bookish knowledge, but also the social interaction between the peers and teachers; and the development of social skills. Teaching children in the lower classes to needs that human touch since they should be constantly monitored by the teacher and individual attention cannot be given through an online platform. Another section that needs utmost care is the children from rural backgrounds for whom the availability of laptops, mobile phones, and internet connection is very less. Government and various private organizations are now coming forward to turn this issue around and make technology and the internet a part of everyone’s home.
This transition has also brought together online platforms that promote the creativity of youngsters as well as adults. Many people have started to explore new vistas of talent and passion, with the time at hand. The lockdown has become instrumental in bringing out the hidden talents in many and given the courage for many to showcase their talents through online platforms. Few considered this as an opportunity to learn new things and find out what the world has to offer. Taking up this motto to heart the online platforms thrived to provide adequate tools and arenas that would help promote this culture of sharing, supporting, and appreciating over the online platforms. The platforms opened up the opportunity to display not only creativity but also acted as a place for growth and development in all sectors and all walks of life. Education started to be true about the experiences and learning from doing in these few days.
The biggest blessing was the family time each of us received without the hectic planning or conscious decisions. We were just brought together to enjoy the lost dinners, and missed lunches. The change is visible from the home to society to the world. People are learning to adapt and grow with the current tides. When adaptability and tech-savvy were terms that were adorned by a few, now it’s the new motto that rings in our ears each day. The world has changed and we should embrace that change for a better tomorrow. When the land rises back to glory free from the pandemic we need to be equipped with the right tools and mind-set, only then can we succeed.