Educators and students around the world are feeling the extraordinary ripple effect of the novel coronavirus as schools and Colleges shut down amid the public health emergency. On 16 March, the Central government declared a countrywide lock-down of schools and colleges. On 18 March, CBSE released revised guidelines for examination centers. This includes maintaining a distance of at least 1 meter between the students taking the exam with a class not having more than 24 students. If the rooms of the examination centers are small, divide the students and make them sit in different rooms. On 19 March, CBSE and JEE Main examinations were postponed till 31 March.
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On 20 March, Maharashtra government canceled examinations for classes 1 to 8 and promoted the students to the next classes, whereas examinations for classes 9 and 11 were postponed till 15 April. Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education postponed board exams for class 10 and 12 and asked school principals to promote or detain students of class 5 to 8 based on their performance in previous terms. Board exams of class 10 and 12 were postponed in Kerala. Assam government canceled all exams till 31 March. UPSC has also postponed the interview for the Civil Services Examination 2019 to be held from 23 March to 3 April. The SSC exams in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were postponed to April 15.
School closures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have shed a light on numerous issues affecting access to education, as well as broader socio-economic issues. As of March 12, more than 370 million children and youth are not attending school because of temporary or indefinite countrywide school closures mandated by governments in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. As of 20 March, over 70% of the world's learners have been impacted by closures.
Even when school closures are temporary, it carries high social and economic costs. The disruptions they cause affect people across communities, but their impact is more severe for disadvantaged children and their families including interrupted learning, compromised nutrition, childcare problems, and consequent economic cost to families who cannot work. Working parents are more likely to miss work when schools close in order to take care of their children, incurring wage loss in many instances and negatively impacting productivity. Localized school closures place burdens on schools as parents and officials redirect children to schools that are open.
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Concerns of students:
As the figure suggests, as per the research by BNED, 55% of students are concerned about the lack of social interaction in online classes. A staggering 45% of students said that they are unsure about their performance in the exams. Apart from all this, there has to be a strong internet connection to attend online classes throughout the day. Nearly 12% of students complain of low connectivity in their areas. However, the picture in India would be staggering enough. There are thousands of interior villages without any internet connection or even smartphones. There is a great digital divide between urban and rural students. This will lead to increased rates of dropouts among these poor children.
The cross-border movement of students has also been affected, which is going to pose a major financial risk for many universities.
Another issue is the format or course pattern in India, which is not in line with the online teaching methodology. This has created many passive learners, who are also losing interest in attending these online classes. Not all teachers are good at handling technology. So, untrained teachers also pose a threat to the
very education system.
Positive Impact of COVID-19 on Education System :
This disruption has also brought many opportunities which will be the foundation of our very own education system and help in its core transformation.
- Blended learning will be in fashion, where schools will try blending different teaching models. Teachers will be trained and will become more tech-savvy. This will be a set norm in most of the schools, colleges, and universities.
- This will be a boost for many companies aiming at developing innovative ways of transforming the e-learning system.
- The quality of the learning materials will improve over time, making it more interesting and engrossing for the students. There will be more transparency in academics.
The current pandemic should be considered as an opportunity in order to introduce innovative teaching methods and e-learning platforms that can reach every child of the country, which will further make the education system of India more resilient.
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