‘Cause every night I lie in bed, the brightest colors fill my head, a million dreams are keeping me awake’….and this phrase is what keeps me going through these tough times. The COVID19 pandemic has knocked everyone’s socks off. The economy is hard hit and as is the education sector. But we as a civilization just cannot wait for Darwin’s theory of “Survival of the fittest” to be etched on stone. The world has to keep going and so is the education and learning process of individuals. But how this so-called “new normal” (which is barely normal) will impact the way we learn?

The online mode is, of course, the most common of all answers. With new technology trends such as cloud computing and virtualization, we can take most of our learning digital. But its accessibility is again a core question. In particular, a country like India which is home to a billion people, a digital transformation may not come handy. According to the Pew study in 2018, only 24% of people in India owned a smartphone, i.e. just one in four people have a smartphone. I am not even sure how many people would use this multi-tasking machine for education purposes. Moreover, the health complications that might come with extensive use of computers and smartphones are also not ignorable.  

A few might also say that home-schooling might become a new norm after now onwards. Going deeper, this might also lead to an idea of ‘home-college’ after all. As social and physical distancing norms are to remain with us for quite a time now. Parents would be weary to send-off their wards to schools or colleges until a vaccine is available for the novel coronavirus. A one-to-one interaction, involving just the student and the teacher, would at least be a safer practice than a community gathering in an educational institute albeit it will have its flaws. This practice might only be for the small elite class which merely even moves out to buy groceries. And, we already know about the economic disparity in this world where about 90% of wealth is just owned by 1% of the population. The rest would still be worried about their child’s education relying on the more sophisticated formal education sector.

As a parent, ensuring the safety of their wards at schools and colleges is an utmost concern for them. I see boarding schools and residential colleges as an answer to a lot of safety concerns parents have. At such institutions, there would be minimal interaction from the outside world. The students could be instructed to stay indoors and go out only for essentials. A regulatory body may be put in place on the premises of the institute to help with concerns and grievances of the students. Furthermore, teachers and other staff members could also be provided accommodation on the campus itself further minimizing any risk of contagion. As clear as day, this option too has a lot of ifs and buts. However, the risk of an outbreak within the campus is rock-bottom.

All these suggestions are mere ideas until a proper strategy is devised by the respective governments to deal with the distressed students who are weary about even finding themselves a job after graduation. More classrooms, teachers, and career specialists can be a blessing in disguise for the students in such grave times. Unfortunately, the total budget allocated for the education sector is just a meager of the GDP of the country. With the economy in pieces, I can’t say whether any relief measures would be been taken for this hard-hit sector. Nonetheless, the youth must be in good spirits to prevent any further downfall in factors that matter the most (like happiness index). 

Whatever be, some things will change for sure and perhaps never return to normal, at least for our generation. We will have to get used to this ‘new normal’. All those hugs and kisses that used to serve as reminders of our college days could soon become good old memories for our generation. But then, there is something that cannot change for sure. Human is a social creature. And, no change is permanent.

Author: Harsh Karnwal

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x