When the world went into hiding in early March, afraid of contracting the unprecedented virus, the indefiniteness of everything was not something people were prepared for. The educational sector has been through many ups and downs in the wake of this pandemic. However, no decision seems to be right when thinking of conducting or not conducting offline classes. While the pandemic has already taken away half of this academic year, the government is still wary of holding offline classes for fear of the second wave of corona virus spread, especially among vulnerable and young children.
The fact that the ‘Vidyagama’ scheme led by the work conscious teachers failed to work is another set back that the educational sector must get over. Since online classes have not been 100% effective, the ‘Vidyagama’ scheme needs to be brought back once the confidence of the people has been restored and some changes have been made to the scheme. Furthermore, bidding time away instead of holding exams is not something PUC and SSLC students can afford at this juncture in time when their future is on the line. The scheme will have to be reintroduced at least by January so that the government can hold online classes while maintaining physical distancing.
Moreover, there have been cases of parents not remitting the school fee as classes have not been held as a reaction to which certain private schools have been resorting to threatening them with the possibility of failing or dismissing their ward. Therefore, the government’s mediation is extremely important when it comes to situations such as these. The schools are also accountable for maintaining their buildings and paying the salary of their staff. Thus a decision needs to be arrived at immediately.
As this academic year has been more like a gap year, teachers will have to take extra care when the next academic year comes around and resort to taking bridge courses or extending teaching time in order to retake portions covered during the pandemic. In order to do so, preparations will have to begin with immediate effect. Nevertheless, the expert committee has firmly asked the government to not start offline classes at this point in time when the uncertainty pertaining to the pandemic is at its height. Winter is usually the time when lung-related health problems will be at its all-time high, and since the coronavirus does affect the lungs a great deal, it is definitely not a good idea to start offline classes and expose helpless children to the virus. Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar has spoken of winter having the potential to host the second wave of the pandemic. Therefore, he has assured that experts will be taking into consideration the long-term effects and consequences of opening schools now.