3Ever since Unlock #1 on May 31st 2020, following the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown, parents have been concerned about the education of their children.
Some questions that most parents, students, and teachers ask are –
- When will schools reopen?
- Is it safe to send children to school?
- What will be the future of education?
Before we answer these questions, let us first examine the current COVID19 status. The facts according to various sources are –
- There seems to be no decrease in the number of COVID cases
- Certain regions show higher incidence than others
- The partial unlock #1 declared in India on May 31st has escalated the toll
- Most countries experienced a similar reaction to unlock.
What makes the situation critical is the fact that the disease spreads rapidly and a cure or vaccine is yet to be found.
The fact therefore is that we must live with Coronavirus and life – as well as education – must continue.
Many suggestions are afloat regarding how to live with corona – and several are practical solutions. The bottom line – there is an emerging protocol that must be adhered to if yo want to stay safe.
Children – particularly the younger ones – are more susceptible and need extra care. When it comes to children therefore, control, and monitoring are paramount. The question that arises from this is –
Will teachers and schools be able to maintain social distancing and ensure safety of the children?
Looking to the sheer number of students in Indian schools, maintaining social distance is impractical.
What the Government Says
The jury is still out on whether or not to re-open schools. Universities, education boards, and other educational institutions around the globe are taking independent decisions and making various stop-gap arrangements to continue the education of students.
However, rather than asking what the government says, the bigger question is – or should be – what do the parents say?
When it comes to children, – particularly the younger ones – the decision lies in the hands of the parents. Therefore, rather than being concerned about the government decision in this regard, parents are – and they should be – asking themselves –
- Do I want to send my child to school in this situation?
- If not how do I plan to educate my child.
The Deciding Factor
The decision is not an easy one to make. On the one hand, parents are concerned about the safety of their children while on the other they worry about the future. The biggest – and perhaps the only – deciding factor is the age and stage of the child. So let’s look at the various age groups according to school stage – pre-school, primary (elementary), secondary (high school), and college (under grad).
There are no two opinions that children below 5 – a preschooler – should stay home. Preschool is just that – preparation for schooling – and this can easily be achieved at home.
For children between 6 and 12, the choice is between health and academic progress. Getting children that age, to adhere to protocol is a huge challenge – and considering the student teacher ratio in most schools so is social distancing. Children above 12 may be concerned about “losing a year” in the academics-career path – but remember everyone is sailing in the same boat. All told, children up to the age of 14 can well be home schooled.
For children who are in grade 10 or 12 the concern is about pursuing further studies. Most children this age have already determined their stream and perhaps have a blueprint of their career path or at least an outline. These children have two clear choices –
- Sign up for a distance learning course of choice
- Continue learning through self-learning apps and online tutorials
A third option is to take up a skill development course and bide their time until the beginning of the next academic year. There are a number of training institutes – such as Learning Equinox– that will offer you courses that would stand you in good stead in your professional life.
Even if you haven’t decided upon your career path, you likely have at least an idea what you – or your child – would like to do. You could consider the second or third options above – unstructured learning through self-learning apps and tutorials or taking up a skill development course.
For children pursuing higher studies, distance learning is the best option. Check out the DEC approved universities in India and enroll in a course that matches your career goals.
On a closing note, the future of your children lies in your hands. Think carefully and act wisely.
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