Almost everyone agrees that online learning & assessments will continue to be relevant even in the post-COVID ‘new normal’. Universally, we are expecting the education system to approach ‘blended learning’ or ‘blended education’.
My personal opinion is also that we need to get students back into schools at some point in time, when we have vaccination or a cure from COVID. Even if that were to happen, the first phase of ‘going to schools’ will have less students in a day, with a few discussions with their relevant teacher. In India, I read a news announcement today that schools will be ready to receive very limited children, with limited time for discussions with their teachers. The government order also says that the schools will reopen on 1st of October, not for regular classes, but for individual discussions with teachers. We will see how it works, and what could be the risks and the preventive SOPs that need to be implemented by the schools. For grades 9-12, we await further directions on how to get them to use the laboratory facilities, etc. I am sure we will get more clarity over the coming days.
There are many champions of the ‘flipped classroom model’ where reading and knowledge acquisition, including books, assignments etc., are at home, with the parents and grandparents having to help the children.
When they come to school, they do their homework, projects, teamwork, etc., facilitated by the teacher. There are firm believers, and hence debates, on both sides of this scenario. But the decision has to happen soon, as, and only after that, the roles and rules of engagement will have clarity.
It would be better if we get clarity at the earliest, as it will be a race to get a full implementation of this concept. The challenges will be about convincing them on the tweaks that are done to the education model. They would have to be trained, and the teachers’ mindset will have to change to the post-COVID ‘new norms’.
In case the NEP implementation is rolled out, it will be a huge paradigm shift. It is best for each school to re-architect their education and their teaching-learning systems. Within a school, discussions will have to happen.
The most important is the teachers’ training, as the pedagogical approaches could change radically over the next few years.
For every school, the time has come to discuss this internally and also to possibly do a workshop involving a cluster of schools, or the ‘school complex’, as recommended in the New Education Policy. Until now, most schools operate in silos. It is time to share the resources: resources like laboratories, faculty training, etc.
There is plenty more to cover. I would advise each school to internally discuss the NEP in detail, and in the next round, debate it with a larger community of schools. With a compiled version, we can collectively discuss it with the authorities at both the state and the federal government levels.
Let us all work together to fulfill the aspirations of children, and when they grow-up, they will take on the mantle to create further improvements.