COVID 19 -Positives in academicsby PUBLIC
Big question in the minds of the (undergraduate degree) students- what will happen to our future! Is the academic scenario too bleak? Answer is absolute NO. In fact the future of teaching learning process is brightening up. What mere persuasion could not bring in the changes in the last 15-20 years have been brought just in a few months’ time. Accept it or not, a great majority of the students do not have a research /inquisitive mind. They solely depend on the teachers to feed them (we call it spoon feeding). More than 50% of the students see only the class notes; they get hold of a book only at the last moment before examination. Hardly 10% of the students surf net to go deep into a topic.
Although we cannot blame them, they are more interested in finding out what question is likely to come in the examinations. Thus they do not know how to do “self study”. Now, newly emphasised online teaching will force the students to come out of their comfort zone. Let me make it very clear that online mode of teaching can never be a substitute for traditional classroom teaching. It can aid classroom teaching. Instead of live online classes, if recorded online classes are conducted, a student can use the materials at their convenient time and send feedback/queries. A great amount of time can be saved if the study materials (written/audio/ video) can be supplied (to be written down in their class copies) to the students online before coming to the classroom teaching.
For extra practice/ problem solving/ cases /examples/etc., as well as for anything beyond the narrow concept of studying only for examinations, a student can search related materials in the relevant links .This will provoke their inquisitive mind. Once this practice is followed in the near future for due to time constraints it will become a new normal in the days to come. This will provide the student more exposure to the subject leading to more employability. This present crisis will also open up new areas/subjects of study on the basis of new demand for crisis management. Crisis is converted to opportunity.
So, dear students, there is no need to panic. Teaching learning is surely going to be better. Only brainstorming needed is in regard to evaluation. Subjective evaluation may be replaced by objective evaluation, thus reducing the stress of simply memorising the answers for the examination. I am writing this piece after experiencing a couple of weeks’ online classes with the students. The big advantage I found is that they can listen to my recorded lecture several times at their own convenient time and place for better understanding. Any deficiency can be sorted out when we meet them in the classrooms (even for a curtailed time). Of all the sectors, probably the education sector is the only one which is not going to see a near normal situation in the near future. So, let us accept the new normal and go forward.
Dr. N C Bharali
St.Anthony’s College, Shillong
The migrant workers employed in small and medium scale industries, construction sites and other unorganized sectors in the country are facing tough situations due to the lockdown. Even, the state governments do not know the actual number of migrant workers in different cities. It is also proved beyond doubt that government welfare schemes have not reached the workers. They are also receiving less payment as per labour laws and government rules. Workers are the backbone of our economy and development. After lockdown, all states should develop a mechanism to register all their workers through an online portal and issue work permits or passes which are linked to their Aadhar. It will be helpful to empower labourers and protect their rights in future.
Amit Singh Kushwaha,
The Government has made it mandatory for people to wear facial masks in public places, offices, as also inside one’s own car, in times of COVID 19 pandemic. This directive is not helping the cause at all. Whereas wearing of masks is rather precautionary, it only gives a false sense of security. At the same time, the policeman is harassing citizens for not wearing masks and imposing fines. The Government, at least after two months of enforcement of national lockdown, must realise that unilateral decisions and implementations thereof, is adding to uncalled for miseries to the public. The Government has to take the citizens into confidence, and take along the very people which elected it, in the very first place. Dictatorial and me too (copying strategy of rich countries) approach is harming the nation beyond repair.
Not all citizens are used to wearing facial masks in a proper way. Moreover, improper use of facial masks can rather lead to health hazards. Maintenance of basic hygiene, frequent washing of hands and face, social distancing, cleanliness of masks, are even more important than just wearing of masks. There is no point tom- toming lesser number of affected persons as success of the steps of the Government, when the number of affected persons is higher than China, and continuously on the increase.
Even Beijing, the Chinese capital, has withdrawn the compulsory wearing of masks with effect from May 18, 2020.
The aim should be to take steps for involvement and active participation of citizens, rather than brazen implementation of archaic laws like Epidemic Act 1897, which is not helping the cause.