08 Jul

Business As Unusual in the Covid-19 Times

By Assainar Tharakan

The new academic year 2020-2021 is gathering moderate momentum amidst the uncertainties precipitated by the covid-19 pandemic situation. Although the severe lock down scenario has more or less eased in almost all parts of the country, the educational sector still remains the worst hit. Schools and other institutions are functioning without direct student attendance. A new generation of home learners have been created; a generation that is slowly revolutionizing learning using laptop computers, i pads and smart phones cloistered in their homes and thus the teacher student interaction taking a new and unprecedented dimension.
Amidst the many negative effects of the calamity in the society, the positive realities are also coming into light spontaneously. One of the most notable positive developments is the exponential increase in the use of technology for productive purposes. A huge portion of the time when technology was apparently misused is now being employed for useful purposes such as attending lessons and doing home works. Many computer illiterate adults have now become active users of computers and smart phones for serious purposes such as supporting children in managing their daily lessons and home works.
Similarly, students of the covid-19 era demonstrate greater creativity and smarter achievements in their learning activities. Besides, the flood gates of opportunities are now open in front of them to display their various achievements in the public domain. This has a dual advantage. For one thing they earn greater love and affection from their proud parents each time they upload their works in the form of text, graphics, audio and video, and for the other, the quantum of true learning that is taking place is far higher than their real classroom learning earning them enviable prestige and fame among peers. This in turn drives home a conclusive observation that learning is happening in the online mode without any significant loss thanks to the shared efforts of the student, the teacher and the parent. The true sharing and caring are happening with the student being the ultimate beneficiary.
It can also be noticed that during these few weeks, a couple of special days went by, like the World Environment Day (June 5) and the National Reading Day (June 18). It is quite noteworthy that the way these two days were celebrated had a marked difference from that of the previous years with increased student participation in various activities and competitions. For example, our students especially in the elementary section uploaded videos and pictures of planting and tending to trees and flowers, working in their farms; prepared and uploaded creative posters displaying their amazing creativity and talent, wrote stories and poems, recited and read them and so on and so forth. I dare say people in general may have planted one hundred times more trees than they did on this occasion in the years gone by.
In conclusion, the young and old generation alike have utilized their time more effectively during these months and weeks because the novel corona virus kept us all more confined to our homes than before and taught us a few valuable lessons about how to spend and use quality time with family and the home environment.
However, let us hope things will soon change for the better, for it is apparent that in spite of all the current positives among the negative effects, it is still written on the faces of our children that they simply can’t wait to get back to schools and share the special moments with friends and teachers enjoying the so called ‘school life’ to the hilt.

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