It’s an ill-wind that blows nobody good. This ancient adage comes to mind even as the malignant ill-winds bearing the deadly Coronavirus, sweeps the world raining disease and death. Although the Coronavirus, aka Covid-19 pandemic which forced the Central government to lock down industry and businesses for over five months beginning March 25, severely disrupted the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of citizens, its silver lining is that it has forced the induction of new digital ICT (information communication technologies) into the country’s hitherto tech resistant classrooms and lecture halls.
As recounted in our first issue of 2021, informed monitors of India’s laggard education institutions are pleasantly surprised, even astonished, by the alacrity with which the teachers’ community countrywide has accepted the inevitability of wired classrooms and need to utilise sophisticated digital technologies to maintain the learning continuity of their students.
This is especially true of 450,000 private schools which, contrary to popular perception, educate 47 percent, i.e, 120 million, of the country’s 260 million in-school children. Inevitably, children studying in the country’s 1.20 million government schools defined by crumbling buildings, chronic teacher absenteeism, poor sanitation and English language aversion, are not as fortunate. But the buzz about the substantial benefits of ICT-enabled teaching-learning is generating heavy pressure on the Central and state governments to induct new digital technologies into government schools.
Be that as it may, blended learning — a combination of conventional classroom and remote from-home learning — is irreversible in the post-pandemic era. Compulsory classroom attendance, the non-negotiable requirement of the pre-pandemic era, is likely to become history. It’s quite likely that as in higher education, children will attend classes on alternate days, remaining connected with their teachers all the while. This will be a blessing inasmuch as it will cut down children’s harrowing daily commute to school in India’s increasingly crowded and traffic-choked cities and towns. These and other issues that are certain to transform education across the spectrum, are discussed in our cover story in this issue.
With the police constantly in the news for egregious acts of omission and commission, experienced Delhi-based journalist Dilip Bobb was persuaded to investigate and report on the education antecedents and in-service training of police personnel. His report throws revealing light on why the police seldom gets good media coverage.
In EducationWorld, we are always ready to acknowledge excellence in education to encourage institutional leaders and educators to continuously improve teaching-learning. Check out our Grand Jury awards for schools and preschools for excelling under several parameters.
Best wishes for a Happier New Year!