Jagdish Bishnoi, Founder & CEO of SAFL India Foundation
It is a mix of feelings to see the campuses brimming with academics and other things again. A lot of students and teachers have become used to online teaching as one can sit in the comfort of their homes. But missing schools is the overwhelming emotion and it is a joyous reunion.
Students are again participating in activities like sports and athletics. It was unnatural for kids and teenagers who are bursting with energy to stay locked up in their houses at all times. Social ventures like friendships and hanging out are a possibility again. Offline teaching will be a reality again. Students, especially the ones studying science subjects, will be able to hold test tubes and wear lab coats.
At the same time nobody can rule out Covid-19. We can also imagine Covid-19 to be a part of the teaching curriculum where regular updates and discoveries of new technologies to fight the virus would be taught to students. Hygiene would be of utmost priority. Sanitizers and disposable masks would be available not only at the entrances but in front of every classroom. Washrooms would be cleaned after every use. The school infirmary would be fully equipped to handle stressful situations and a government health system would be available at all times. Certain rooms in the school area would be designated as quarantine centers if an emergency befalls.
All the above measures require the assistance of governments, school authorities, parents, and students. The growing need for digital devices, internet facilities, and health measures would require additional funds.
We should embrace the fact that the pandemic is not going away any time soon. WHO official Nabarro recently said, ‘Coronavirus is a new reality and the world will have to learn to live with Corona in our midst.’ Decisions made today in the context of COVID-19 will have long-term consequences for the future of education. To create a holistic view of education, we need high-quality table talk with policymakers, academicians, and educators to make need-based decisions that should be guided by shared principles and visions of desirable collective futures. The rise of Artificial Intelligence which was predicted to happen sometime in the future might be already here. It is vital to stay vigilant and adapt to the current situation and plan well for the future.