- By Sunita Sharma Koirala
The article is based on the series 26th Webinar organized by GP Koirala foundation, America in Presence with Honorable, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Ministerof Nepal Ms. Sujata Koirala , GP Koirala America President , Mr. Somnath Ghimire including respected educational experts and panelists . The discussion was majorly focused on the following Topics:
How to transform Education Post Covid19?
As we are battling through the COVID 19 since March 2020 and now we are in second wave and we are facing lots of challenges. On the the other hand Covid19 has been also creating more opportunities in to the educational sectors and we have to utilize the opportunities in order to move forward but how to proceed further ? What should be done post pandemic in the educational sector ? That’s the question.
Well, after we hit by the pandemic we all have been realized that we need a quality , human interactive, creative distance learning Virtual education unfortunately, we are not prepared. Majority of the teachers in developing county like Nepal are not ready for the Immediate distance leaning education . Even though some of them have realized but they do not have a proper knowledge so that they are not been able to maintain a certain level of standards in the education.
In today’s Covid19 world , virtual education has become a requirement. The education required a social relationship and Interests which is really required in the classroom otherwise students will not be interested in the lectures and educational will be not be effective. Therefore , teachers - students focused educational program need to be developed. The virtual learning should be more creative . We must utilize the virtual technology not only for entertainment purpose but also for an education and development purpose . Side by side Virtual education need a good environment at home unfortunately, most of the parents they do not have level of understanding and We have even seeing that in the US students are taking online classes at the same room while their parents are sitting next to them and chatting with the another person. Parents should understand that students will be distracted by the noise they will be less productive and they lose the interest. Therefore , distance learning environment should be main focused for the peaceful homey environment . Students and teachers should share and exchange their knowledge,thoughts and ideas to each other’s so that the class room can be more interesting .
When a student having the class discussion in the class room we can apply a forces of creativity for them for example we would make them to turn on the assessment after the every lecture. Therefore, developing countries should think about the education in terms of assessment and evaluation purpose also . Moreover, we need to consider global prospective so that we can develop and maintain the world wide standards for the education.
We can use our technology for advancement and also for an advantage and we must Work collaboratively among the students in order to grow up together. If we encourage students to work in the collaborative environment students creativity will be increased . Collaboration of other arias or field of people will also increase our knowledge of standards in many sectors which is also a new approach of teaching.
Moreover, Globalization in terms of education and technology is also plays a significant role . We can globalize the devices in order to access the computer ,laptop , iPad , tablets in developing countries. We need to develop a system like that so that rich country can provide or share that kinds of technology or devices to underdeveloped countries like Nepal because they do not have capacity and resources . Similarly , device library section should be developed in to our community so that Laptop technology can be shared, distribute and access to everyone and students will be supported globally .
Students are more concerned about mobile phone and laptop for entertainment purpose than education .Students should be restricted go in to the entertainment sites while they are taking online classes and must be focused on the education .
Even In the USA one teacher is taking at least 40-45 students in a class but in online class we have to think over it , overcrowded students In a virtual class will not be workable and classes will not be productive and effective . So we have to restructure our class room settings in terms of number as well.
Similarly, If we talk about the design prospective there is lack of knowledge on the design and technical aspects . Right from the beginning we are having technical issues on top of that requirement of this much of advancement on the technology side in the class how can we handle ? So we have to open technology related colleges in our future community so that we can develop the technology experts in our community and we can utilize the resources effectively.
In developing country like Nepal ,Nepal really need to focus on distance leaning approach . Moving forward we really required strong strategies plan and support including funds as well. What is happening , right from the beginning rich family background students have much smoother transition than the poor Students who grew up in the very low income Environment. When pandemic hit , Students from low income group got absolutely shocked and suffering too much which is really bad.
Even in the USA after the pandemic hit more than 70 thousands students are out of school . Students are not only missing their education but also missing their daily meals . Similarly , arround 1.1 million students are in minority and they do not have a computer . Moreover , more that 1800 school kids have been accessing the same device technology in a family which is really becomes a difficult situation for all of us .
In the USA, after pandemic hit , most of the kids are taking distance learning classes unfortunately Kids are overburdened with the technology and hate virtual learning classes but love watching YouTube , Instagram and Facebook. Some kids are even panicking with the distance learning tools and technologies. Most of the Kids they love watching technology for entertainment but do not like to take education that presented on the screen . They are felling stressful and boring therefore we have to think over that how can we make the class interactive and Interesting.
Additionally , most of the schools kids do not know that how to access the vertical learning class , they even do not know about what is the Link mean ? how to handle, operate and control them as a consequences they are panicking with the distance leaning technology that’s why every parents need to be trained by basic computer technology in order to connect their children to the virtual class and this is the requirement.
Records indicated , In New York more than 30 thousands students are homeless , before pandemic they used to go school but now they all are out of schools , how do we give them devices when they do not have a WiFi that’s the question .
Therefore , We are searching for a better way to serving the community in order to EZ access the Internet and computers . Before the pandemic kids used go to public libraries and used to access the devices . They used to go in to public libraries and used to borrow the laptops , iPads and tablets unfortunately, after all public libraries and resource service centers are closed it’s becoming a disaster for them .
How do we move forward ?
The change is happening everywhere and it will happen again and again. For instance in the New York , even undocumented immigrants can do covid test and COVID vaccines going to the school unfortunately in terms of other county it is not possible for Immigrants . Covid19 taught us the humanity first which is a change for the betterment. As we agree about the fact that the hardest hit people are from working class parents and there is a gap between rich and poor always exist but NYC has becoming generous to all . We believe, Implementing the distance learning technology in class there will generate more employment opportunity in future. As we know that after the pandemic hit lots of people are out of job environment. So if we turn every education in to the full vertual education we can create lots of jobs and opportunities in the education. Therefore, We must focus on the advancement of the Technology and improvement of the education . The transition should be start from hard cover books to vertical learning and online process so that most of the students will be benefited .
Students opportunities post Covid19 has been rapidly changing .Post Covid19 students will be learned remotely because this is the only possibility what we have right now and we must focus on the technology and we also must to think over it who cannot afford it and who can’t afford.
If we talk about India or Nepal some portion of the students only they are taking class online otherwise more that 60% mid level school students are not taking the classes because neither the teachers are computer literate not they have got trained . If some teachers are good in technology unfortunately students do not have the WIFI and computer. How to fund them? resources and funding is required.
What should be done post Covid19 situation ?
Particularly, in developing county like Nepal, obviously government alone cannot handle the situation . So that every local communities should be active in order to establish a new education system in Nepal .
Additionally, distance learning rarely had a practice in developing countries like Nepal but now after hitting the pandemic few boarding schools they have on practice but all government schools are under the miserable condition . We have to reform and restructure our education system in order to go with the flow otherwise we will be on the great disaster . Nowadays, Nepal is doing very good in the telecommunications and Internet fields but still lies behind in the Computer technology as compare to our two neighboring countries like India and China . Telecommunications sectors in rural area are doing very good . Television and WiFi are available in most of the districts unfortunately, some geographical regions are fully facing the challenges what can we do for those areas ? we must rethink over it twice .
In nepal right now, we are more focused on the technology . particularly in the rural areas most of the students are coming from very poor background .They do not have a laptop and computer .Moreover, trained teachers are not available in the rural arias. who will teach them the technology ? currently , government alone cannot handle the situation then who is going to work on that ? That’s why Nepal government should formulate the best strategy and Implement them involving with various INGO and NGOs sectors. They must be launched very strong policy in terms of the education and must search for the funding in order to change the whole Infrastructure, resources of our educational system.
Nepal government should provide equal opportunities to the public without any discrimination . Students who are not going to school , we have to really focus on that and we have to work on that for the betterment of the education . Moreover , Nepal is becoming the highest polluted city in the world . We must educate our schools children regarding the plastic waste management, sanitary pads distribution including distance leaning virtual education and need to search a big funds for that otherwise we cannot sustain and cannot move forward .
Additionally, we should change our school curriculum. our curriculum in general must be more flexible to the teachers and students.
Rethinking of curriculum design in terms of making engaging lesson is required because without engagement the virtual learning class will not be successful and entertained .
Similarly , in order to make a quality education we need to focus on the students teacher relationship and the ways to develop relationship virtually with in our students is required .
Moreover , we must creat a Pressure in to the government even if we are out of the power otherwise , our students have to face a lots of challenges . Currently, in Nepal we do not have parliament , government is not interested to do the right things other than Power distribution and management but we have to focus on education also.
Last but not the least , Education is all about culture, county , but as we think about a global prospective global mobility has been increase . In 20 years global mobility students have been doubled and every year 5 million students have been traveling abroad for the education . That’s why Globalization of education is possible and required to maintain the similar standards . In this environment students and teachers can virtually exchange and share the knowledge which has been grooming now . Therefore, Global educational system should be even more better post Covid19 and have been doing that and it will be continued and excel .
On the other hand , regarding the Civid19 there is lots of misinformation spreading in the community . Demographic of communities who are suffering they are exposing the frustrations and pain and even creating riots , vandalism and strikes in the city . These all kinds of issues must be addressed and need to be focused on the positivity.
Finally , we believe, education will be emerged strong in pandemic .For that the Government must address the issue , otherwise we will be back . Before pandemic hit Nepal had faced lots of challenges in the public sector . But now People have been changed and constant change is happening after pandemic and will be happened and we must bring a change in our country . Ist of all preparation is required , we need to address the issue and implement a new plan as soon as possible otherwise we lose our young generation in future .
In the end , hopefully , this pandemic will end forever and children will get a better education soon so that every students will be benefitted with the education . We are very hopeful for the better future .