DailyPost 2069

This terminology remains unknown as the general understanding is that the education or training imparted is consumed in the manner warranted and then used for the purposes it was meant, and that too successfully. Before exposing gaping holes in this theory, the fascinating part is how the learning gap has come to take the center stage of our discussion. COVID-19 experience has brought this to our reckoning. While the online education was going on in full swing it was acclaimed as one the transformational transitions in the field of school and college education. Online was touted to be providing an at par education, some even felt that it was there to stay. But as clouds clear for the bright sunshine, physical schooling is turning out to be that great moment.

When systems run fine, or even average, we tend to take it for granted, and more so when it delivers in the process. It was believed as the physical schools would reopen, kids would seamlessly move into the school environment and school life and learning would be business as usual. This is where the error of judgement has happened. Online schooling or college education are a different world as has been proven and leads to a variety of issues, a couple of them have come to the fore and few we are discovering as times go by. The most startling revelation has been of the learning gap, while classes happened on a regular basis and so did exams and other activities as a part of the curriculum. The overall exposure to Covid-19, the tragedy all around, the non-schooling home environment and the rigors of education went missing as it seems now.

What is a learning gap? It is the gap between what the school and the system expects a student to learn, based on objective and empirical outcomes and what he actually learns. In the present context is what the students were asked to learn and what they actually did, in two years of Covid-19 infused education. The fear is that the learning gap is genuine. The teachers are likely to face it in a big way as the schools open for normal physical classes this academic year. Research in this area has indicated that from a learning perspective, based on clear cut yardsticks, more than one year of learning has been lost. The biggest damage seems to have happened in the lower classes.

The psychological issues can also have its own toll. The school schedule, the travel/walk, bag, uniform, meeting kids, having teachers on their head all the time, physical activities, different nature of socialization and what not. Schooling is a complete way of life, a computer screen can be nowhere near. Some would not have seen this at all. The very young ones would have forgotten in two years of their online rigmarole. The problem seems to be theoretically known to some extent but are schools equipped to handle this. Have the teachers been imparted at least some type of training to take care of the situation? What is important is a calibrated approach to get the students back in the pre Covid-19 schooling system? It has to be methodically worked for every class and implemented accordingly. No one knows whether this blueprint has been worked upon to be executed now. The initial days would be the most difficult and trying times for both the students and the teachers.

Sanjay Sahay

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