Molding education in the face of the pandemic

In the wake of the never-ending situation brought forward by the pandemic, many sectors of the economy have been hard hit; to the point that now it requires years to bounce back to normal. And on the upfront viewpoint, what could be the definition of normal anyway? And will the notion of new normal incorporate to the new façade of education?

Some of the data suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing more than 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school in 161 countries. (World Bank,2020).

In Nepal, the nationwide lockdown which began on March 24th has some bittersweet experience ingrained in the people that have fared the toughest for the academicians of various natures. And without a doubt the sector has faced unprecedented loss in regards to how much it has hampered the usual teaching and learning methodology, disrupting the courses and schedules. And this points the direction towards another essential topic to explore and that is whether there needs to be a review of the existing policies that govern this sector as the outbreak is increasing the appreciation of online education.

The uncertainty is however quite certain to change the outlook of education. But more important measure at the moment is the execution of less haste, more scrutiny whilst balancing patience and rigor.

Now, there’s not only the need to have to construct a backup to get through this crisis but there’s the need to develop the systems, reflected, refreshed, and redesigned to meet the needs which have been so eloquently glaring at this crisis. And all this shines the light on how important the role of local government really is. Their role and decisions are vital now more than ever as they know the behavioral aspect of the people of their area among many other iotas of instances that could add up to defining factors. Hence, they should put forward their best guardian persona and prepare recurring packages to ease the pressure on the students. They can also form a collation with the local leaders and strengthen their tasks coordinating with the community, academicians, and teachers alike to brainstorm the best decisions to strengthen the measures in regards to the way forward. Also, ultimately this is a golden opportunity to strengthen the local government’s decision making prowess in education and get a grip on the idea of decentralizing education.

In politics, there is a saying “never lose the opportunity of a crisis”. And maybe this could be the situation that pushes an alarm button to reflect and redesign the ever-existent “one size fits all” model of education. Nevertheless, the pandemic is providing us with massive insights as to what human development and learning look like in the face of adversity. This has largely pointed towards allowing it to shift from a rigidly structured pace to a more lucid mannerism of imparting knowledge and trickling down the responsibilities to the local level.

Suzana Thapa Shrish

Suzana Thapa Shrish works as a Research and Communications Assistant at Samriddhi Foundation. She aspires to focus her researches on Education Policies that will allow her to lay a solid foundation to navigate the current developments in contemporary pedagogical policy & practice and deliver tangible outcomes in the educational domain of Nepal.


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