Expert View

Contemporary Educational Challenges

By Ms. Archana Narain, Principal, The Indian Heights School, New Delhi.

“Arise, Awake and Stop not until the Goal is reached”. -Swami Vivekananda.

The present world is living amidst what is potentially one of the greatest threats to global education. A school is an educational institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students under the direction of teachers. But this Pandemic has changed the dynamics of classroom education. Never before have the schools been closed for such a long stretch. This is indeed the challenging time for students, teachers, and parents.

The educators’ world over are grappling with numerous contemporary educational challenges and are trying to reduce the negative impact of the pandemic on learning and schooling. As the education system is coping with this crisis, the need of the hour is to act responsibly, close all the learning gaps, provide opportunities and assuring that all students have the same chances for a quality education.

Challenge to Keep the learners motivated:
Fear of the unknown virus, disruption of the daily life, hunger and other forms of deprivation are significantly impacting children. This Pandemic is taking toll of their mental and physical well -being. The most crucial challenge on the part of the educators is to keep the mental and physical well-being of the students intact. There is so much negativity in the environment. Adults around them are scared and overprotective. People are afraid of losing their livelihoods and many have had to confront hunger and food shortages. In such circumstances, children are confused and afraid, and most importantly, there is no one to whom they can turn to for reassurance. And now even the young children are taking the brunt of the Pandemic. So, the challenge that lies ahead is to spread positivity and keep them in high spirits.

Challenge to keep them fruitfully engaged:
Engaging the children constructively is a critical task. Since the schools are closed and there is no social relationships or peer-to-peer interactions. Moreover, their learning is online, in this scenario, keeping them constructively engaged is of prime importance.

Technology has widened the learning gap:
Online learning in its entirety is dependent on technological devices and internet. 27% students living in remote areas have no access to technological aids. Thus, is available to only children from better-off families. Students with outdated technological devices might find it difficult to meet the technical requirements of online learning. Students with no affordability to broadband connection are most vulnerable to fall behind or encounter additional challenges to meet up with others in online learning.

Socio-economic factor is another challenge:
Dropout rates are still very high. As students from the Govt. schools used to get mid-day meal facility and now as the level of poverty has increased most of the labourer class families have migrated to their native place. This has resulted in end of education for their children.

Assessment and supervision:
After instructional delivery comes the most important component i.e assessment .In online learning, assessments are often carried online whereby instructors are limited to proxy supervision of learners making it impossible to regulate and control cheating and making assessment ineffective.

Coping with school dropping:
There is a real danger of children in higher classes dropping out, and girls may be particularly vulnerable. It is important to identify vulnerable students, counsel them and their families, and encourage them not drop out. In some areas, adolescent boys may be under tremendous pressure to drop out and support the family – either in the field or through daily wage labour, depending on the occupation of the communities.

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