Schools Are Reopened, What Next ?
By RAYEES AHMAD KUMAR
Educational institutions across length and breadth of valley reopened last week after a hiatus of more than two years. It was indeed a moment of joy and excitement both for the parents as well as their wards who were eagerly waiting to step in the school premises to take offline classes because they were fed up by the lengthy spell of online learning during the previous two years. In absence of normal physical classroom teaching due to prolonged pandemic situations, the use of modern and latest technology to impart education to our future generation was the only option available which to some extent can’t be ruled out but the prolonged use of mobile phones and computer screens for online learning has negative health impacts. So the reopening of schools for offline classroom activity was seen as a blessing for our younger generation. Both at administrative and institutional level, finest arrangements were made to welcome the students on the very first day of School reopening. District education officers of some valley based districts ordered to celebrate the first day as the day of happiness to lessen the fear, scare and threat among the students especially the pre-primary students. Air filled balloons were decorated on the school gates, masks and sanitizers were kept ready at the entry points and sweats and candies were distributed among the learners to give them a newer experience on the opening day of the session. Children too were thrilled to enjoy the day at school after a long break.
Now some solid questions which strike the minds of common masses are – would the teachers help the students in compensating the academic loss of previous years ? would they continue to be vibrant as seen on the reopening day ? would they bring reformation in their art and method of teaching so that their pupils feel pleased ? These questions need not to be merely answered orally instead some concrete steps must be initiated so that the already derailed education sector is brought back on track. It can’t be denied that teachers alone can’t bring a revolutionary change in the system rather a parent, student and the people at the helm of affairs all have to necessarily work together and play their role in bringing the desirable change in the sector. But a teacher is the main and basic pillar of this sector who can play a significant role to streamline this system. Thus the main responsibility lies on the shoulders of teachers to infuse new life in the functioning of the academic institutions. After the arrangements have been finalised by the school authorities with regard to check the suspected covid infection among both students and teachers, adopting covid appropriate behaviour and following the administrative guidelines, the most important and much needed initiative is to improve the academic side of students. This can be ensured by taking a number of constructive steps for the welfare of our children. Framing a balanced teachers time table in which both teachers interests and their academic background are given due consideration can be helpful in enhancing the learning levels and capabilities of the students. It should be done without consuming much precious time of students who already have suffered a lot. Otherwise due to lack of consensus among the teaching staff, framing of timetable at times seems a Himalayan big task. Teachers need to give a cursory look over the contents of the books/subjects which they have been assigned in the time table which can help them to formulate the strategy both for completion of the syllabus as well as the methodology. Whenever they face any difficulty or get stuck in the content matter of the books, they must exploit the available manpower and other digital sources to feel themselves comfortable as well as for the larger interests of students. Being continuously associated with only online learning for the last two years, our children have become rude, arrogant and immorality also has dug it’s roots deep in their behaviour. So it is of utmost importance to build moral values in them and moral teachings during prayer/ morning assembly times can be a better option to make them responsible citizens in future. Forcing or pressing the students for any assignment during the academic activity can negatively affect their personality and sometimes they may become the victim of depression as well. Teachers must remember that the children are attending the physical classes after a long experience of digital learning which has harmed them more than benefiting them. So every precaution must be taken to make students feel pleased and comfortable in the classroom, which is prerequisite for their productive learning. Use of negative reinforcement must be henceforth discouraged in the post COVID period in order to expect better results in the future.
After an experience of the online learning, students must be made to believe that real physical normal classroom teaching has no alternative, all round development of the students personality can’t be shaped outside the school premises be it home or any other place and digital teaching would never replace the traditional ways of teaching. All this can be better taught to them when effective ways of teaching are put in place and the methodology used in post-covid era is suitable for the children. Further online gaming, crazy movies, absurd entertainment shows and other bad stuff has enslaved our children during the pandemic period. They hardly show any interest in physical activities like games and supports. It has become a matter of serious concern both for the parents as well as the teachers. To bring children out of this menace, it is the prime responsibility and duty of teachers to act promptly in order to prevent them from becoming the couch potatoes. To develop scientific temper, literary taste and interest for learning among the students, teachers must put the efforts in the right direction. Lastly they must keep in their mind that they draw the handsome salaries from state exchequre mainly for teaching and moulding the minds of students. This can direct them to act wisely and perform their duties with utmost dedication and zest.
RAYEES AHMAD KUMAR
Writer is a columnist and hails from Qazigund Kashmir.