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Has The Pandemic Reshaped The Entire Education System?

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This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The COVID-19 pandemic transformed a lot of things, but most of them were certainly not for any good. We are still in the process of unravelling the question of how and why this eruption of economy, emotions, and human lives happened, and what it is taking from us.

This article focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education system of India. Education is considered to be one of the quintessential requirements for building one’s future. We learn, test ourselves, get promoted, and take a step ahead towards a brighter future. The year 2020 held something distinct with regard to education; the unthinkable is now a reality. The idea that teaching and imparting education can take place from the comfort of our homes was unbelievable until now.

The Coronavirus affected the education system in almost every part of the world, as soon as it was confirmed to be a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions decided to close down before any further announcements. The debates on the same have not taken a break. There were varied opinions and arguments that if this “new education system” was of any good to the student population.

We cannot deny the fact that digital media and the internet made the inconceivable idea of tutoring and schooling possible in these tough times. The Coronavirus gave a distinctive rise to e-learning in India, and around the world. Not only college graduates, but kindergarten and primary kids have also been learning a lot of new things using diverse and creative methods.

It was a unique way of exploration and absorbing education through clicks by being a part of the virtual world, i.e. to study in an online mode. Things were effortless in some cases, while they became extremely complicated and tiresome when one was unable to decode the technology. The big debate revolves around the challenges of online education, along with untangling the question of if this was worth it at all.

What The EduTech Industry Can Learn From The Shift To Online Classes
Representative Image. Credit: Getty Images.

The Online Mode Is Not Without Its Challenges:

The student as well as the teacher population faced a lot of difficulties while using the online method of education. Let us understand some of the challenges they faced.

  • E-learning has come up with its own hassles, the biggest one is the inability to comprehend what is taught to the students through the internet. The idea of education goes vain if kids are not able to do justice to what they are learning. Online education requires the support and efficiency of tutors and teachers as well, as it is their duty to make sure that every child attains the benefit from the new learning methodology.
  • Along with understanding the complexities of the subject, both the teacher and the student have to deal with advanced technological algorithms. Submitting assignments, creating projects, giving presentations, and teaching through presentations- all of this has become a tedious task for both parties.
  • India is diverse with respect to the economical aspect as well. There are certain sections of society which are not privileged enough to buy and use the computer and internet for the purpose of education. For them, education in the offline mode is way more effective and affordable. Hence, it was a challenge for them to study through the digital world.
  • The physical mode of education ensured that students would learn together, solve their doubts with the teachers and other classmates at the very moment. This practice guaranteed that students had understood the concepts taught to them in class. However, with education changing to its new form, kids were not able to interact well, neither with their teachers nor with their other batchmates. Their attention was divided to multiple tasks, which was a hindrance to productive learning.

The Online Mode Is Still Effective For Some:

E- learning was tough for some sections, while the others highlighted how it was effective and satisfactory for them.

  • The unimaginable idea of learning and teaching from the comfort of our homes was a dream until now. Students and teachers could schedule classes as per their convenience and save a lot of travelling time and money.
  • Some of them believed that working according to their own pace increased their productivity in less time. They could deliver better work, become more professional, and save time for other activities as well.
  • The dissemination of knowledge never stopped. So many people were lucky enough to continue their studies just because of the internet. Education in a way travelled across all parts of the world, just with the use of electronic gadgets and internet facilities.
  • The availability of study material was in abundance. Students and teachers could both refer to resources which were not utilized earlier. Understanding through presentations, videos, and animated series became prevalent and students retained their lessons better through these activities.

The discussions regarding the feasibility of the online mode for education has still not ended. People have their own perspectives and opinions to share. There is still room for improvement as far as managing and conducting online classes are concerned, with the hope that everything will soon resume back to normal. Till then, stay safe and healthy!

Featured Image Credit: Ramandeep Kaur/The Print
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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