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Educational institutions provide a structure for learning, socialization, language skills and cooperation for children. An epidemic is changing the landscape of education. All stakeholders in the education industry are affected. It is unlikely that all classrooms will open for the years 2021-2022 and the uncertainty regarding the reopening of the schools for the years 2022-23 continues. Some teachers lost their jobs or were forced to cut wages. Children learning online are perceived as cheap and collecting school fees continues to be challenging. If schools do not open by 2022, that is very likely and it means two or three years of education gap. Schools may be left with a mixed option. How can we expect children to learn each of the skills that schools teach?

Even if schools are opened, some parents’ fear of being infected by children and the turn of family members to be infected will hurt the possibility that children will attend school in 2023. How are schools prepared to adopt children who are likely to have education gaps? What would schools do if parents and children requested online or offline classes?

Several questions about the school as a system are at the top! Or is it just a break? Will it be permanent? Will our education system wait, wait and wait for a solution?

To explore some of these issues, three veteran educators share their views in two conversations –

1. Fr. Nicky (Nicolae D’Costa) who serves as principal at St. Teresa High School, Bandera Mumbai

2. Principal Mrs. AN Suryavathy who serves as principal at Harvest International School, Bangalore.

Mrs. Gowramma KS, who serves as the Deputy Principal at Harvest International School, Bangalore.

Excerpts from the conversations –

question 1: When you can open cinemas, malls, bars and restaurants. Why not schools? I understand a claim that you do not buy every day or watch movies in the hall every day unlike the children who were in schools every day. Otherwise, I ask if school is not an essential category?

responsibility & fear “They are two factors that prevent schools from reopening,” said Fr. Nicky

“Places like malls, movie theaters are meant for entertainment and it can be a choice. While education is not choiceSaid Gorama

One infection can make headlines and all stakeholders will be in question. The responsibility goes to the heads of all stakeholders. When will all stakeholders find a solution that will save the children’s future? Some states like Karnataka have initiated the reopening of schools. After reopening to ninth-twelfth grade, starting September 6th, sixth-eighth grade will see a start. However, doubts of further closure with Wave 3 following us will come as no surprise!

Question 2: Several reports show that parents expect their children to go to school. Why are these opinions not heard? However, Wave 2 probably changed some of the parents’ decisions. But, I would like to believe that some might still want to send their children to school since for some they will be the first generation in education where school will be the only means of education.

87% of parents responded Not for reopening the school For a survey conducted by the school, “said AN Suryavathy

Question 3: Last July a report said 40,000 teachers had lost their jobs. Another report this July states that 55% of teachers are facing pay cuts and a 20-25% drop in income. I have three questions to ask –

One side is the loss of work but the other side is also about the talent taken.

3 a) How are schools prepared to retain teachers?

3 b) How are schools willing to address online and offline in 2022-23 if the government does not require offline classes? What I expect they will not charge.

3 c) What will the school do if most parents and children insist on online lessons in the future?

Question 4: Adults have a choice to go out with a job or purchases. While children are mostly at home and some do not even have access to online education. How are schools willing to adopt them if schools reopen in 2022? What will happen if the situation remains similar until 2023? Is this going to be a confusing and disturbing time for children and parents who missed 3 years of straight education?

“The education system is likely to have a new norm and all stakeholders will have to accept that,” Perr said. Nikki.

“Future education does not pass mixed “Learn where practicals / practical lessons will be held at the school while some of the lessons will be online,” said Gourmet

What are your thoughts? Appreciate it!

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