‘’Knowledge knows no barriers’’– an age-old saying that proved to be true in the dark light of Covid-19. As privileged students, we have been taking education for granted and considered it not a concept, but a commodity rendered to us.
It was beyond my imagination that a day would come when I would miss my school, not just for the people I interacted with but for the unparalleled quality education I used to get via physical teaching. The table of education surely turned, but bridges did not burn.
From an unbiased point of view, the impact of the virus is adverse, but as intelligent human beings collectively, we came up with ideas and resources to adapt to our needs.
Education being vital didn’t halt thanks to these very ideas that I shall mention later in this write-up. But before I begin to state the positive changes it is important to analyze the damage done.
Nearly 90% of the world’s learners were impacted by closures which are approximately 825 million. These are mere statistics and reading numbers is monotonous, so, I shall brew a story to highlight the impact.
An online survey conducted in the Asian countries made it clear that 21.9% and 13.7% of the students had mild to moderate and severe to extreme levels of anxiety.
The countries participating in this survey were Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, India, and Indonesia.
A study by Kshipra Moghe, Disha Kotecha, and Manjusha Patil said that females in India are more likely to feel emotions of uncertainty and helplessness while an increase in self-harm amongst males was seen. On the whole urban population had a greater severity when it comes to psychological and mental health issues.
A student, say X, from an economically weaker section gets the news about a shift in learning platforms i.e. online. Having only one mobile available, the student misses classes very frequently.
The teacher, on the other hand, was conditioned to teach the conventional way and had to burn the midnight oil and learn basic computers. They are new to video call classes and get easily disturbed by the students having unavoidable technical issues.
The smooth flow of teaching thus wasn’t established. Parents of students with special needs are worried. Students who are differently-abled needed physical assistance and human touch to learn and hence couldn’t make the best use of online resources.
Concentration lags are very frequent due to the home atmosphere. There’s too much procrastination. Being solely dependent on screens the eyes strain and headache kicks in.
The year goes by and not much is gathered. When the bells of exam time ring, search engines are at the student’s service. Textbook material is hardly well interpreted and life skills? Also vaguely developed.
This is the negative impact summarized. Financial problems, lack of digital literacy, and no one-to-one conversation add up to the hiccups and give birth to attention problems, lower academic results, and day-to-day mannerism issues.
Factually, many positive outcomes too, have been witnessed with the growth of online learning. While these may not appear to cancel out the damage, it has definitely reduced the magnitude of the earthquake.
I believe in education being bi-directional. Even teachers get to learn something new each day. Covid-19 helped the teachers and staff in administration to become more tech-savvy.
Cyber intelligence has become very crucial as cyber crimes are on the rise, so people who could have been victims are now enlightened. The research skills of students have been boosted, finding relevant information online, going through e-texts and resources is proving to be beneficial.
Earlier a student would primarily study what was prescribed in the course but now as online learning spreads, a plethora of new subjects become visible.
There are available study portals, websites, and apps providing study material and courses ranging from polar fields from esteemed universities around the world.
I was able to make beyond satisfactory use of apps such as Coursera, websites like FutureLearn, and nevertheless social media apps such as Instagram and LinkedIn.
The system has become more integrated. Using e-books is evidently a step ahead in sustainable living and time is also well optimized since online learning is like door-to-door service flexibility.
The distance and traveling problems have been curbed. Yet again, at the cost of physical movement and exercise.
Since staying at home is the only option and no other alternative can be used it is important to keep in mind some techniques to reduce the stress of the online classes:-
Manage time well having sufficient off-screen activities. (Exercising or relaxing)
Connect with peers beyond the online meeting and maintain good relations.
Get enough sleep and a healthy diet.
Don’t be hesitant to take breaks, they can really help.
Use positive affirmations to keep spirits high.
To conclude, education has suffered immensely. A lot of important aspects of life have been compromised. This statement in itself signifies a lesson learned.
Things we take for granted end up giving us a harsh reality check. And if educational institutes stay shut, we do not know how many future revolutionists might ruin their academic lives or give up on ‘education’ altogether.