OVID-19 – 19 is one of the worst humanitarian crises of the contemporary period. The new generation who were felt proud of being living in the modern scientific technology age has been jolted to see the breadth of this invisible Virus who killed a sizeable people. The lockdown was a novel experience for this new generation. The Pandemic also had shocked this generation as the way Covid- 19 had made entry and enclosed the entire habitation within a limited time. This highly infectious virus touched all the domains of life and no dimensions remained unaffected. Due to the novel nature of the Virus and very limited knowledge about it initially, the only way suggested by the experts dealing with the Virology was the option of Lockdown.
According these health experts that lockdown was one of the modes to restrict and break the chain of Virus from further cycling and spread. In the overall process of lockdown, the most troubled and effected sector is Education, the schools were closed completely this was a new experience for the young buds as they have not seen this type of terrible environment in the past. Everyone disengages from other persons. Even in the families, the family members sometimes felt suspicious of Covid -19 even on the flu symptoms. And without wasting any time they have isolated themselves from the family members and even from their lovely kids.
Hence, it was a horrible situation witnessing by these young buds. To continue education, the governments came up with the plan of digital education or online education. This was a sudden step and in this step, those countries who have ample infrastructure in the online education system made active plans that how to make this education system effective at the ground level. While as for those countries that have not much online education infrastructure faced a lot of impediments and are still in the struggle how to make this virtual education mode more effective. In these countries, the digital divide and the lack of training to the teachers and no systematic plan made this mode less effective at the ground level. The fundamental applications that were used for this virtual mode of education were Zoom App, Google meet However, in many poor countries the teachers were not in a position that how to use these software’s for learning purposes. The same situation happens in India, where internet connectivity and a deep digital divide are still a problem.
In this entire process, the notable children who were hit and effected belonged to low socioeconomic households. These children mostly have not assessed to mobile gadgets and sometimes there was only one mobile phone in the entire family. And mostly that phone remained in the pocket of the head of the family. These poor economic backgrounds students significantly remained out of this online education. Many parents sold their valuable properties to bring the devices for their children to attend their classes. However, all those parents associated with marginalized sections cannot afford this step.
Therefore, the privilege of online education was significantly yielded by those students who have access to these smart phones, access availability of internet and have also good economic background to recharge their smart phones. The second aspect of the Pandemic it had also affected the livelihood of several people across the world. The people lost Jobs, some lost business and those who are near to get their various educational degrees after years of hard work did not get at the required time. Many educated persons who were in the hope that they would get a job are not now eligible because they passed their required age bar as necessary for the job for which these respective persons have done years of hard work. This all has created mountains of stress in their minds and many of them are suffering now in a depression.
The same is the case with the school education as due to the long lockdown numbers of the private schools especially in India are facing a lot of financial constraints. It is not only these non-aided private schools but all those who are associated with these private schools like teachers, students, management, etc. A survey by the author reported that the ground situation of these schools was not so good. These schools are on the ventilator, they will explode any time in the future if the condition remained the same. In India, most of the Indians enroll their kids in these schools but when the schools are at the edge of closure So, it is obvious it will negatively impact the education of these kids in the future. Second, when the parents lost their jobs among these parents, most of them use their already savings to continue their household expenditure. So, it is possible in the future for these parents they might enroll their students in government schools or those schools with low quality as compared to earlier schools. This will definitely affect the education graph and educational aspiration of this student.
The dropout rate is already a big problem among some marginalized sections of the Indian society like Muslims. This dropout rate might be further increased in coming times among the students who belong to the marginalized sections of society. After the COVID-19 -19, their priority could be to restructure their economic conditions and improve their standards as they were lived earlier. In this whole process, they might give less attention to the education of kids, especially for the girls. Some households have lost all their earnings and their position is so worrisome and pathetic, to regain their original position they might need years. Hence, education in the post-Covid will have enormous challenges, especially for those who belong to the poor sections of society. In this pandemic, many kids lost their parents, who were once with them and motivated them to attain their education goals. Now due to this Pandemic, they lost their love which will definitely impact their future life, especially education. Psychologically, they will be disturbed. And this has a long-run cold effect on their academic achievement and self- development.
CLASSROOM ADJUSTMENT IN POST COVID-19
After the years of online education, the students became habitual of this new online education mode. In the post-COVID-19, these students might face a lot of adjustment problems in the traditional classroom environment, especially in the discipline. We observe during the online education classes when the students attend the classes many of the students are in the bed, some in a sleepy situation some are busy eating food, some are doing breakfast. Hence, there is no uniform pattern and order of class discipline found in these online classes. One more thing, learning during these online classes is not much inclusive. The teachers send ready- made notes to these students through WhatsApp or Email. Later on these students use them without using their energy as it has no handwork activity, this will also negatively impact their handwriting skills in the future.
Some people felt happy when the Government announced that they have promoted the students to the next class even without examination and complication of a required course. For the time being, it is a way to protect their academic year. However, this promotion step has long-term negative results. As the children will remain weak in those areas which he/ she has not studied or touched, which in turn affects their performance in the future. Most students who will fall in this category are those who remained out of online education are from the poor class and those students resided in far-flung areas.
The foremost thing is the economic therapy the Government needs to implement. The government should use its workforce and identify those households that were highly affected by this COVID-19 should be given an economic boost, especially for the education for their children. For this, the government should designed a special fund and then at the Panchayat level in rural areas or Municipality level in urban areas identifies those households who are in dire need of support.
Plan for the low-aide private schools those private schools that are at the edge of the closure and are at the ventilator needs immediate financial support to continue their service for the society in the post-Covid situation. For this, with the help of a survey, these schools should be mapped, and a special financial plan should be given for these schools. Emotional support for those who have lost their parents in the ongoing pandemic the good thing is that the Government of India had also announced that they will bear the cost of education to those students who have lost parents. Being a human who needs love and the love of child towards parents cannot be fulfilled only by money. Hence, these students need special emotional and motivational support for the specific time in their life.
Capacity building the teachers need a productive capacity building that how they readjust the students again in the traditional classroom who are away from the schools for years. Counselling many of the students who lost their careers and jobs and some even-par their age need strong counselling and guidance in the post-pandemic period. Otherwise, there is a fear these types of students might select the wrong path, which would destroy their lives. In Kashmir, there is an urgent need for this as many youths are passing in this phase, and we are seeing the surge in the drug addict cases, heart hearts, and even the alarming of suicide cases. In this whole situation, the local people who have sound economic status should come forward and should contribute for this noble case of education. These people should made special groups in their respective areas and to create the special funds. The funds then should be used for educational purposes for the needy students in the respective area.
In the context of of the Muslim section, the need of the hour is to make their local BITUL MAAL strong by their contribution this will help a lot in reboot the economic conditions of the needy people of the area.
Author can be reached at Farooqmajeed19@gmail.com