Education at Home
With the world in lockdown mode for weeks now and life coming to a standstill due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, all sections of society have been severely affected but one sector that may take longer than others to get back to normalcy is “education”. All educational institutions – schools, colleges, universities, coaching centres and others physical places of learning – in India were closed days before the nationwide lockdown was announced and it is likely to remain shut for a while even after the lockdown is lifted and even as life slowly limps back to normalcy. This measure is necessary to contain the spread of the virus though it has caused untold misery to the student community, with many stuck in the middle of nowhere- finding it difficult to survive in the city and at the same time can’t return home due to travel restrictions. This calls for the need to ensure their safety by providing food and shelter as well as look at their educational health because learning and education has to go on.
Good news is the classroom is not the only place to learn. The HRD Ministry recently launched a helpline portal so that students in distress can get help in the form of accommodation, food, online classes, examinations, scholarships, health, transport etc. Sensing the possibility of the lockdown continuing for a longer time, several schools, colleges and universities, including Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura universities have announced online classes for its students. In fact, Manipur University has already begun virtual teaching but this initiative too has hit a roadblock with students from remote villages not being able to access the facility due to poor internet connectivity. Most hilly regions such as Northeast India are facing this issue but that should not be an unsurmountable hurdle for those who want to learn.
Students should make use of the lockdown period judiciously, using it as a springboard to reach greater heights, academically and as a person. Those preparing for UPSC and other competitive exams can study more dedicatedly with family members around them to take care of their needs. Students preparing for various entrance exams like Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) should take the lockdown as an opportunity to study, score good marks and get admission in prestigious institutes. And this is also a good time to pull out your old high school books and read again; it will be very helpful, especially if you are preparing or planning to write competitive exams. Those interested in taking up any special courses can do so by enrolling in an institution that offers courses online. For children, home schooling is a good option. Parents can also impart values to their children and teach them life skills like cooking and doing household chores, something that is not taught in school. In a nutshell, young minds should make use of the lockdown period resourcefully from the comfort of their homes. Education begins at home.