EDUCATION WITH ITS CHANGING CONTOURS IN (POST) PANDEMIC SCENARIO
Education in India is at the crossroads. Several changes in the policy and praxis of education are the call of the time. New education policy has been proposed by the government to fulfil the aspirations of the country which is the largest democracy in the world today. On the one hand we have National Education Policy 2020 and on the other hand, we have had to battle a year-long pandemic situation which is still having its staggering effect in the multifarious strata of the lives of the people of the world. Education has been an important engagement from the ancient times of the Vedas where the guru and the shishyas lived together for the teaching-learning purposes, is undergoing a change in its contours. Western civilization also has similar notion of coming in contact with the person in academia to learn. This age-old system of educational praxis of socializing in a school / college / university environment was brought to a standstill by the stringent policies of the governments of the world to combat the spread of the virus. Academics in the world immediately shifted the vantage point of this exchange of space of class/lecture room to a medium. A new dependence was developed (though ICT was/is used to enrich the lesson transactions by the teaching fraternity at varying degrees) to use technology to disseminate education to all the groups of people. So, there was a shift from socialization as an aim of education that academics harped on in the lessons all the while before pandemic which was questioned and surveyed as ‘social distancing’. Therefore, the new synthesis is to be developed from this antithesis; challenge totally is thrown to the academia to mitigate and reconcile.
It is fascinating to note that suddenly distancing have become the necessitated normal. Online life, gift of the gab, visual and vocal became the norm of the day. Teaching-learning took a new turn. Not to mention the workspace increased to a broad spectrum. The education in India at this juncture is, therefore, still settling from a new fault movement of the continental plates. We have a gamut of student population struggling with the accessibility of technology owing to poverty and far-flung geographical location from the reach of connectivity. These are some of the daunting challenges of diversity and inclusivity in the education in spirit and letter. The desired result of online teaching-learning is also not achieved. This has been observed by Dipti Kulkarni in The Indian Express. The progressive mobility in a civilisation is possible through holistic education where students are provided with right skills, leaning experiences, value formation, critical thinking and rational morality is developed. Towards this end, I argue, that the academia should not take a step back, but take up the stride to do the very best. Frontier is dangerous and unknown but we have tools in our hand, we have technology, we have good will and we have immense opportunity.
In this issue of National Frontiers in Education we have authors/contributors from erudite academia who have written about some specific issues, prospects, status and challenges in/of education. The articles ranging from IT and its challenges and prospects, child centric education and cognitive developments, challenges of online teaching and learning, women education are some of the broad areas of this issue. This issue encompasses a variety of viewpoints bringing to light both our present situation in the academic sphere as well as the main theme of the journal – new frontiers in education.
Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of Education (PG/UG),
Her research interests include early childhood care and education, emotional intelligence of the teaching professional and inclusivity in education.
She is presently pursuing her doctoral studies