Education in the time of Covid-19

A couple of memes on Social media said “What! Education is not essential service, I have spent so many years of my life on it.” And many laughed over it. Well… It is essential according to me.

Reading learning, studying, assignments, test, exams, all are a part of education. So are mentors, teachers, non-teaching staff, seniors and friends. I knows students reading this would want friends on the top of the list.

Everyone is concerned about the students. They are important. They are our future. The Lockdown has been a complete change for them. Little ones are happy to see both parents together, not rushing goodbyes and missing their lunch box and water bottle the most. It is their responsibility to bring it back home safely. I am sure they have their eyes on them right now.

The school goings ones have mixed emotions, wondering whether staying at home and watching TV is better than going to school, or spending time with friends is better than being shouted at by Mom and Dad.

The teenagers are anyways in a world of their own, they would use Mom’s phone to chat with friends but how would they watch TV with Dad glued with it. Studying was the reason for not watching TV. Now what’s the reason?

University students are usually independent and think they know how much to study. They have their own devices and can pretty much manage online education if provided with good internet facilities. Still disputable. That’s for another day.

All these children, students have participated during the Lockdown teaching their parents how to use different social medium platforms, some have helped parents pay the household bills online, some have recorded videos of their mothers and grandmothers cooking and posted them on YouTube, many have learnt cooking through YouTube, some learnt grocery shopping, some learnt household chores like dusting, sweeping and washing dishes, while others posted beautiful pics of delicious meals prepared at home. I am sure they have done much more.

Charity begins at home. This is a famous idiom which means take care of your family before helping people living further away or in an another country. If each parent does just that, then education is not lost. Education is taking place in every home that has turned out to be the school for the child especially in large towns and cities.

Educations doesn’t involve only classroom teaching. An environment inculcating positive learning is a classroom. Let each household provide the education it can, so that when the students get back to the usual course they are ready.

Some call it Life Lessons. Some call it Education. I call it Learning.

Learning never stops.

This is a part of #CauseAChatter written for Blogchatter.

Devices on the rise

There was a time when screen time was to be restricted. Its effect on the eyes and sedentary lifestyle were highlighted. But today in this Pandemic-stuck world, all eyes on the device.

I particularly draw attention to the online classes. The new norm, that earlier belonged to the countries where our cousins lived, is now catching up and the lingua has changed. Don’t make noise, my class has begun. Ma… don’t run the mixer, Pa… reduce the volume of the TV, etc..

Students (ok some students ) are loving it, it gives them a chance to officially be with their friends, while others dread the assignments as it comes officially as an email. Some turn off the video and continue playing games on the other tab, some religiously take down notes. All in all, school is on. With school being on, things seem normal at home. Children wake up early, that is the first advantage. Parents too wake up early! Some children are learning how to use the laptop or computer better, many use Mom’s phone.

This is the case in most schools, what about the teachers? Are they ready? Well, the teachers who are tech savvy can do it. The others are learning.

Now for the big question?

  1. Do all the students who attend regular school have a device at home that can facilitate online education
  2. Do those student have good internet connectivity.

The number of internet users in India is 34.8% according the live stats website. I believe that if one member of the family uses internet, the next year or even sooner, the second member would start using it. So this percentage would be of a particular strata of the society. I hope that a large part of the 34.8% are parents who have school going children.

https://www.internetlivestats.com/internet-users/india/

With this percentage, online classes are recommended. What about the students who don’t have access, or access with less connectivity? Again the less fortunate are at a loss. Let us be fair and not pressurise them. Let’s make practical changes, extend the commencement date of the new academic year, let us reduce portions and let everyone get equal opportunity without attending online classes.

Apart from online sessions, one has to observe that the virus has struck India close to the summer vacation, so schools can afford the break and brainstorm about what’s next. I an sure parents would understand.

Coming to my next thought. Would children learn through devices? I say Yes, children would learn, they are eager and enthusiastic. They are watching what’s happening, their second home is school. If you bring the school to them, they would be the happiest. Keeping the present scenario, this is the best option. Once things get back to normal, schools can look at a four day campus and one day online session. The can play with the numbers. Three day campus and two day online too works. With the pollution and traffic on the rise, let us take certain long pending decisions on global warming.

To my surprise, many students who are listed as the fortunate ones, whose internet connectivity is good, have non-working devices at home which must be dealt with once the lockdown concludes. Keep devices in working condition. Keep buying headphones, branded reparable devices and chargers. They will always be handy.

I just learnt that the books on my computer can be transferred to my Kindle. Thank you to the person who taught me how to do that. Very helpful when my laptop is charging after a long day but I need to work, I let it rest and I continue my work with my kindle. So learn to juggle between devices.

In conclusion, I would say moderation is the best option. Let children have an afternoon nap during the lockdown the day they have online sessions. Their eyes need rest. Increase Vitamin A in the diet along with Immunity-boosting foods to stay healthy. During non-online session days, let them just be.

I leave you with this quote from Wess Stafford in the April edition of #CauseAChatter by Blogchatter

“Children are more than we think they are: they can do more than we think they can do. All they need is a vote of confidence from grownups, whom they will ultimately replace anyway. Their dream of today will become the realities of tomorrow”

#Day 13

#Day 13 is 06/04/2020, Monday. The news that I want to share today is from a modelling by the University of Sydney which says that the prevlaence of Covid-19 in Australia could peak in mid-April and new cases reduce almost zero in July. It also adds that widespread testing to testing asymptomatic cases, a firm hold on Social distancing is required for the predicted exit strategy.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/06/coronavirus-australia-latest-6-april-at-a-glance

Another input is from the animal kingdom. A tiger in the New York Zoo has contracted the virus.

inhttps://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/coronavirus-cases-in-india-live-news-latest-updates-april6/liveblog/75000925.cms

Central Zoo Authority advises Zoos in the country to remain on highest alert after a Tiger tests positive in New York. The last thing expected.

In Los Angeles residents can now apply for coronavirus testing. Earlier there were limits that patients over 65, having underlying medical conditions or have a weakened immune system could apply. Good news.

https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-04-06-20/index.html

The pandemic is getting serious and India’s positive cases has crossed the 4000 mark. Dont’have anything to say. Just want to pray. On the home front, the lamp activity had brought in excitement that I miss it today. We are just here doing our daily tasks, interacting with the same people.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/breaking-news-live-updates-coronavirus-india-lockdown-covid-19-world-news-us-new-york-1663711-2020-04-06