A question of adjustments

The post-pandemic situation will be challenging, both for students and teachers. A look at the issues that may crop up

October 17, 2020 04:08 pm | Updated 04:08 pm IST

SMS or Social Distancing, Masks, Sanitisers are non-negotiable now.

SMS or Social Distancing, Masks, Sanitisers are non-negotiable now.

Of the current global human population of 7.8 billion in 2020, nearly 1.3 billion are learners who have been affected by the closure of educational institutions due to COVID-19. Such spaces are fundamental not only for academic interactions but also to build social and emotional skills and mental and physical health. As governments contemplate when and how to re-open schools and colleges, it is clear that the post-pandemic situation will be different for both teachers and students.

Resuming classroom

With students and teachers getting used to remote teaching, which has been the norm for much of this year, getting back to the traditional classroom environment will be challenging. One immediate issue will be lack of focus, as students may be distracted by sharing their experiences of life during the lockdowns. This initial hiccup can be overcome by giving them the right orientation.

Psychological stress

Owing to SMS — social distancing, masks and sanitisers, which are the non-negotiable — the classroom environment will be new, difficult and possibly stressful. Students will have to get used to physical distancing instead of sitting close together and joking or playing pranks. Further, students who exhibit symptoms of headache, cough and fever are likely to be suspected to be infected with the Coronavirus. This could lead to some amount of embarrassment.

Lack of excitement

Students who have already begun a new academic year online have lost the charm and excitement of a new classroom environment along with that of getting new uniforms, books and other essentials. Further, a physical connect after a vacation usually is a happy time of sharing experiences of travel and other thrilling moments, none of which was possible this year. Also, educational institutions are considering a shift system so that fewer students will be present in the classroom, leading to smaller groups.

Transition hampered

Students who finished school this year have had their introduction to college through a virtual walk through. This does not really help in showcasing the institution. Also their interactions in the college would have depended on whether they were day scholars or hostel residents. Exposure to cultural, club and other extracurricular activities shape the life of students, but this is not possible now. Authorities and the faculty will have to find solutions to circumvent these problems.

The writer is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Hindustan Institute of Technology &Science (Deemed to be University) alexjesu62@gmail.com

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