Mumbai/28 April 2021/By Swonshutaa Dash
A decade has passed in a year. The world we knew no longer exists and now all transactions are at the mercy of glowing screens. The lives of students have come from “No phone for you!” to “We should get you a better phone to study.” The experience and process of education have metamorphosized since the advent of the CoVID era and whilst the declining prospects of returning to learn in the physical format, long-term alternatives for educational activities are being sought. As a sophomore in high school, the way I perceive education systems has refashioned drastically.
The physical classroom model of education has drastically changed with the advent of the pandemic.
The past year has acted as a time of revelation: Through the notices and circulars of boards and universities, the priorities of the Indian education system have been revealed. The ‘holistic’ environment that acts as a USP for money-hogging schools and colleges has disappeared completely. The process of education has been condensed into the pages of textbooks, practicals have been annulled and co-curricular activities are long forgotten. Even with the absence of their USP, schools and colleges continue charging an immense amount of fees, choosing to ignore the impact of the recession.
‘Boards’ are no more the threatening term they used to be. With two batches’ boards left half done and cancelled, future board exam competitors and guardians wonder whether board exams will even be a shadow of their former glory. While the implementation of the New Education Policy 2020 falls in line, future batches may be liberated from the mandatory anxiety-inducing 1 month of examination, as their weightage decreases.
The Class of 2021 has also changed College admissions forever- Indian students have both given up their dream to study abroad and used the absence of SATs to secure seats in Ivy league’s and premier institutes worldwide. Students are now weighed by personal attributes and capability and the cookie-cutter model of selection has been abandoned.
Although education has gone from an ‘experience’ to an optional, rather monotonous cycle, students now have time to catch their breath in the absence of travelling. On one hand, while some may be conquering new heights with this newfound time, others struggle with declining mental health caused by the sabbatical of interpersonal interactions that helped divert attention from anxious and depressing thoughts.
Being from a privileged section of society, one may miss out on the hardships e-learning has given to those who come from lesser privileged sections of society. Lack of internet, funds for education, or even ‘roti, kapda, makaan’ (food, clothing, shelter) commodities to sustain during economic crises. Like all coins this one too has two sides: Online degrees and remote learning has developed multifold making India’s EdTech industry the second largest. Further to this, technologies such as AI, AR, VR, MR, and the use of voice interfaces shall gain immense momentum, thus, creating a space for collaborative learning in the ed-tech market.
This perfect-flawed system already in place will be the way students edify themselves as long as there are more elections and bans on oxygen shortage complaints. However, the reformation of the education system has begun at such a rapid pace that what we understand as the process of education today may be completely desolate tomorrow. What good it does, only time will tell.