And for a Friday IC (In COVID days), huge upheavals and challenges in Educational sector…..
Most upper middle class homes in India have or know someone studying in USA, now in shock with the US Immigration cancelling /denying new F1 student visas to foreign students taking classes exclusively online due COVID-19. Harvard and MIT announced legal action against Trump Administration. Harvard’s President, Lawrence S Bacow said “The order came down without notice – its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness”. Some say it was aimed at the 4 lakh Chinese students. Republican Tom Cotton has even called for banning Chinese students from STEM courses. He alleges they spy and spirit out breakthrough technology for their home country. No matter what the motive, Indian students/parents will suffer collateral damage.
Back home in India too, pandemic causes lots of issues and confusion in the current academic year. No easy solutions. Karnataka Govt banned online classes for KG to class 7. PIL in court. The Karnataka High Court has expressed the prima facie view that banning online classes, encroaches the fundamental right to life and education conferred by articles 21 and 21A of our Constitution. It however clarified that schools cannot make it compulsory or charge extra fees. So it’s a Catch 22 situation. WHO allows only one hour per day of Video interaction for children upto age 6. Experts say toddlers should not be over exposed. At best, for preschoolers, online class must be only about their day, singing rhymes, telling stories and playing games with them. Teachers play a very big role in the lives of nursery kids. It’s important for the teacher to stay in touch with these kids. So what’s to be done for toddlers, for mid school, high school, rural schools and colleges??? No easy answers. But let all stake holders get together and let’s build consensus for what’s best for our future generation. Let not Sarkari Babus give diktats.
Let’s all use this Pandemic to revamp our Education system, accelerate skill sets of our Teachers and administrators and use technology to impart knowledge, inquisitiveness, critical thinking and adaptability. Let’s do away with current Rote learning for exams only system. Let’s build our new system the hybrid way, the Ethical way, the SEEGOS way.