This discussion is intended to gather the experiences and thoughts about the present and future of the education with regard to the pandemic, from academicians and non-academics cutting across disciplines and geographical boundaries.
UPDATE (31-May-2020): Although we have already received and posted several articles, a number of authors have indicated to us that they would like some more time. Therefore, the last date for submitting articles has been extended till 21-June-2020.
It has been just about two months since 11 March 2020 when the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic, about ten weeks since it was declared a public health emergency, and a little over four months since the disease was reported. This pandemic has, as we increasingly realize, the potential to change the entire world order. In some quarters this is already seen as a historical divide, BC (before Corona) and AC (after Corona).
Across the globe educational systems at all levels have been seriously impacted even in this short span of time. The virus SARS-CoV-2 (and the diseases it causes, COVID-19) has affected all schools, colleges and universities. By mid-March mostly, these have all been shut: classes have been suspended, examinations, research work and virtually all laboratory experiments have been forced to hit the “pause button”. Students everywhere are in limbo, facing an uncertain present, and a more uncertain future.
Although the University Grants Commission and many universities have quickly decided to conduct classes and examinations online, its implementation in the country is not an easy task. Access to smartphones and the internet is still very limited. At the same time, it is undeniable that technology can play a big role in offering alternatives to regular academic activities, so one effect of this pandemic may well be to bring significant changes in the traditional education sector in regards with the use of technology as a tool for learning. How administrators and teachers respond to this difficult time will decide the future.
Every discipline faces distinct challenges when it comes to online learning. Courses which have always had a laboratory component will need a redesign. Compared to urban students, rural students might face more challenges when the traditional methods of learning give way to new pedagogic techniques. Education will have to adapt. The present discussion aims to explore these issues.
Now is as good a time as any to start thinking about these matters. Online classes have been thrust upon all sorts of institutions largely because there seem to be few options, but the experience so far has been very mixed. This discussion is therefore intended to gather the experiences and thoughts about the present and future of the education with regard to the pandemic, from academicians and non-academics cutting across disciplines and geographical boundaries.
We invite the readers of Confluence to take part in the discussion in the form of articles sharing their experiences and their insights, touching upon related topics/questions in connection with the following themes:
- How well has the Indian education system coped with the coronavirus pandemic? What does this hold for the future?
- What is your take on the future of higher education in India, given the scale of the social, political and economic changes that have occurred in the past several months?
- Do you think technology will play a bigger role in the poco (post-corona) period in the teaching of your subjects?
- What is the impact of online education replacing the traditional methods at your institution? On the students, and on the teachers.
We hope that this discussion will throw light on the realities of the system, the challenges we face and the possible changes that the system needs to undergo.
The guest editors of this series are Sujin Babu ((Madras Christian College, Chennai) and Ram Ramaswamy (IIT Delhi). They have been in conversation off and on since 2012 when, as it happens, both of them were at the University of Hyderabad.
a) The style of the article should be simple, precise and lucid, presenting your thoughts and reflections on the theme. No personal attacks or statements targeting individuals please, such articles will be summarily rejected.
b) Both generic observations, as well as specific ones related to teaching of a particular subject are welcome. Note that this series of articles is about higher education (i.e. undergraduate and above) only and does not pertain to school education.
c) The articles should be approximately 1,000 to 1,200 words.
d) The articles should be written in English. Please distinguish between data and opinion. Cite sources for the former.
e) The editorial team will read and decide the merit of your article, and decide whether to publish it or not. We are primarily looking for well-written, logically well-constructed articles that present a relevant, and preferably fresh, point-of-view. We may also suggest you to revise the draft before publishing. In any case, the decisions of the editorial team will be final and binding.
f) Please email your article IN THE BODY OF THE EMAIL to confluence.caretakers@gmail.
g) Contributions must carry the real name of the author and aliases are not allowed. Please include a statement at the end of the article stating the name, status and affiliation of the author.
A sample author statement will look like: ABCD is a PhD scholar at XYZ University.
h) In case of any queries, please email: confluence.caretakers@gmail.