The world-wide pandemic of Covid-19 has influenced every aspect of human life. Education also could not remain untouched. Due to Covid-19 a sudden closure of school and universities took place world widely. This happened in Nepal too. It has made negative impacts on students’ education and career. And it could have permanent damage on school system-there are chances. This situation has to be considered by every stakeholder and fight against it joining hands together. A single or one sided effort gives no effective result. The same thought implies in education too. This has to be addressed from government level. Otherwise nation cannot mitigate the possible aftermaths of this havoc.
This short piece of writing tries to explore and examine the possible impacts of Covid-19 on different aspects of education in Nepal.
Socialization and skills development
Schools not only teach the contents or curriculum to the students but also instill social skills. Regular interaction and engagement with teachers and fellow students fosters socialization. The primary goal of being at school is that it ensures child’s all round development. Children love going to school because it is fun. School also develops different abilities. Covid-19 has resulted disconnectedness between school and children. They are confined in their homes which is somehow frustrating and monotonous experience for many of us also. This pandemic has disrupted socialization process of children. However, socialization begins from home and it can be reinforced from home too. But the difference is that the socialization that takes among family and relatives and socialization that school gives is different and cannot be replaced by one another. Aware parents can mitigate this situation and also minimize the loss.
Learning is a chain process. First learning attracts another. And it becomes a habit-conditioned behavior. So that, immediate/unwanted disruption may lead towards loss of motivation or interest. To say it simple, it breaks the chain of learning. It takes time and effort both to reconnect the process. The havoc created by this pandemic has laid emotional and psychological impact on each and every individual. It has also significantly influenced student’s learning activity firstly because of sudden closure of schools and universities and secondly because of rumors and disorder prevailing everywhere. In such an environment people hardly can build their learning mindset. But the situation must be loosen up. Nobody knows when it ends, so that all of us should try to get back to our previous condition and resume and reinforce own learning process ourselves.
As the consequences of this pandemic schools and colleges have been shut down. The assessment of schools and universities has been stopped which has created a kind of uncertainty and unpredictable situation. NEB and Universities have postponed their exams for unidentified time. Many students are deprived of appearing in exam. The undesired postponement of exams causes negative impacts on students learning. Slowly and gradually they stop learning/studying because of the uncertainties. Assessment is also one of the motivation strategies for students. No exam on times also causes loss of future opportunities in an unfulfilling manner. It also blocks further studies. The assessment is directly linked with future and career of students.
This pandemic has made loss of jobs in a large number. In the country like Nepal, large number of population has no specified job. When poverty strikes to its fullest dropouts of students is very common. The longer the schools are closed the higher is the dropout rate in such situation. Many parents have no source of income; they have lost their jobs. A large number of families depend on foreign remittance but this pandemic has not left it too. Therefore, it is very likely to increase dropout rate this time.
It seems like covid-19 has paused the entire world for some times. No excuses to none. Everyone is being hunted. It has made a great loss of opportunity to the students and educationists. Many students who are willing to go abroad for further studies are barred. Their future is in a trap of uncertainty. Similarly, for those who were required to have a job after passing board exam have become dreamless.
Divide & inequality
The question of equitable education is not new for Nepal. It has been facing since a long. In the country like ours where money determines what quality of education their children will get. Equality is very difficult to be ensured. Having low socio-economic standard is to no access to quality education. Better future of a nation cannot be imagined with such a vast gap in education. During this pandemic many private and some government schools of urban area have started online education. Whereas, most of the schools situated in rural area are doing nothing. Though, it is the fact that online education or distance education is not feasible in maximum part of Nepal because of no internet access. Many schools are not well equipped with technology and same is with students. Therefore, technicalization of schools doesn’t necessarily fulfill the gap seen on education. During pandemic students and parents also need to be updated and equipped to run distance education smoothly and efficiently. Online education should be made possible everywhere to guarantee equitable education for all and to reduce the bay of education.
Impacts on Teachers
There is no doubt that teachers are one of the most important part of education system. The present scenario has affected many teachers. They have no option except to teach whether off or on. But the government of Nepal has done lockdown and their income is halted which resulted their hand-mouth problem. The teachers who are working in private sectors have been affected the most. Most of them are jobless and their job is sacked by the so called founders. Lately, some private schools have commenced online teaching but they are alleged to charge much. On the other hand, the teachers who are working in government schools have been blamed to have earned easy bread during this time. Though, all the teachers are not supposed be blamed. Some schools have somehow managed to run community based teaching. No one knows how long this pandemic exists. There’s no option left now to run alternative classes by considering preventive measures.
This is a crucial time for Nepal. The impacts of Covid-19 cannot be denied. There is no option to be habitual with it. We cannot just sit and ponder for nothing. Some developed countries have drastically changed their education system by using ICTs. Now, the time has come to technicalize our education and it is inevitable. For that, government should allocate trainings and facilities for not only teachers but also for students and parents, so as to achieve globally competitive education. Otherwise we will be lagged behind.