The year 2019 has been that of turbulence and uncertainty. People across the globe have been fighting to create a balance in their lives and livelihoods. Children have been no exception because they also have faced their own problems. They were suddenly asked not to attend school and they have been learning indoors through online mode of learning. At the same time, many children in India could not afford this form of learning. The government of India has been telecasting lessons through the national channel and this helped some to an extent. DIKSHA; Digital Infrastructure for School Education; an initiative of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (Ministry of Education, Govt of India); an online educational platform has also been launched.
The Covid-19 outbreak ; especially the first wave has left educational institutions in the lurch. The school managements, somehow tried to overcome the difficulty by conducting online classes. They were taken by shock and had to quickly change the teaching- learning methodology. Conduction of examinations also was a big challenge and it was officially declared to promote students to the next class irrespective of conducting examinations. The internal assessment performances of the students was taken into consideration. When things were gradually settling down and vaccination drives were taken up, there came the second wave. People have been grappling with it and the third wave has not been ruled out in the near future.
Many states in India have opted for physical classes for students and have considered reopening of schools. but, the directives from the central government differed with those of the schools’ and so most of the states have withdrawn their decision of reopening the schools. an upheaval always results in a change, a change is sudden but a transformation need not be so. Transformation is wiser and is based on the experiences we have faced with the sudden change. Whatever be the difficulties, human will challenges them all and tries to mould life. This is part of education and the flow of education may pause but will never stop.
Technology has been giving wonderful opportunities to the human race and the humankind has reaping good results from its partnership with technology. It is at this juncture, that we need to rethink about school children. They might have never imagined that they would stay at home for nearly a year and a half without entering their school premises and meeting their friends and teachers. History has shown us and most of us were part of that feeling, the feeling of joy when we were given holidays. But today, it’s a reversal. Children wait endlessly to go to school. This to some extent might also affect their mental hygiene. It is a welcome and a most awaited change that schools are now considering the option of the hybrid learning model. This model facilitates students to take bot; online and offline classes. The model distributes students between both ways and students are swapped accordingly. This way. They will have a chance to study in a social milieu to which they have been used all these years. Mingling with friends and learning together will contribute to their general social behaviour and mental health. But all this is possible, if schools managements and parents will reach a common-ground of course after taking into consideration the guidelines from the government. Vaccination for all; school staff and students is mandatory along with Covid-19 protocols of wearing facemasks, maintaining social distancing and also frequent washing of hands and using sanitizers. The school schedules should also include classes on safeguarding oneself and others for the virus not to spread.
Definitely, the hybrid or blended method of learning comes with hope, which is the need of the hour. It rests on the pillars of commitment and trust on the part of the society in protecting our precious future citizens- the children of today. Let them know, that this event in history will also pass but with responsible behaviour. It is up to us to march ahead with caution and care and welcome a new dawn- history has witnessed many a crises and this too will be crushed!