Cradled in the lap of mountains at the foothills of auspicious Trikuta, besides the river Tawi at an altitude of 1030 ft. is Jammu. This 'city of temples' has many places...
National Institute of Disaster Management(NIDM), Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India , NSS Campus Units, University of Jammu and Child Care India jointly organized Webinar on “Continuity in Education: A Major Challenge in the 2nd Surge” on 24th June 2021. Prof. Neeru Sharma, Convener, NSS Campus Units, University of Jammu, Jammu, welcomed the Guests and Participants. In her Welcome Address she highlighted the issue of learning deficiency among girl child and congratulated NIDM for jointly organizing the webinar. In the Introductory Remarks, Mr. Anindit Roy Chowdhury, Director, Programmes and Policy, Save the Children India said that the second surge of Covid-19 has frightened the world. The stress on learners and educational institutions is high. Schools and colleges are suspended, and examinations were cancelled. Classrooms are becoming digital, and admissions are anxious with ambiguity for the upcoming academic years. The pandemic has driven the community to reinvent ways to deal with the new reality significantly. There still exists the digital divide which has impacted the education of many children living below the poverty line. They have not been able to afford the devices or internet connections required for online education. We have a chance to not only defeat this pandemic, but to transform the way we nurture and invest in the young generation. The main objectives of webinar was to develop multi-pronged strategy to manage the crisis and building long term resilient education system; to identify the ways to ensure continuity of learning in schools, colleges and universities; to Strengthen the mechanism for ensuring accessibility of learning for rural and urban student as to filling the gap of digital divide; to develop a full-proof long-term surge/ change capacity to transfer from classroom to online learning module without affecting continuity of learning in case of disasters & emergencies and to focus on continuity of learning of the girl child so that already widened gender-gap is not further widening. Prof. Manoj Kumar Dhar, Vice Chancellor and Chairperson NSS, University of Jammu, Jammu in his Inaugural message said that, in any disaster whether Man-made or natural, children and women are the most affected ones, and this was proven true by the recent pandemic the world has faced. The world was not prepared for either the COVID Pandemic; it caught us by surprise, and neither the quantum shift from Physical to Online Mode. Youth engagement in such situations is of utmost importance because India is a youthful country. NSS volunteers have being doing exceptional work during the COVID 19 Pandemic in their own areas. The NSS volunteers can be engaged in mitigating the effects of the COVID 19 on children through such training initiatives. Being at home, in all parts of India, and Jammu and Kashmir, they will be able to become the eyes and arms for Children related issues, especially education. Parents, who are not educated, or technology enabled, need to be provided support in their children’s education, till the schools reopen physically, which still seems far. While on one hand we want to limit the screen time for children, on the other we must allow them to use it for education. The parents need to be sensitized about this and many such issues. Youth can play important role here, not only for child education but parental awareness too. They can remove fallacies of information, build confidence among parents and children, be the warriors, they already are. Save the childhood should now be our motto. He wished all the best and blessed all the organizers of the webinar, for organizing the webinar.
Prof. Santosh Kumar, Professor & Head, CCDRR, NIDM, thanked the University of Jammu and Save the Child, India for the partnership in organizing the webinar. In his Keynote Address,he said that, India has the world’s largest population that offers substantial opportunities in the education industry. Schools, colleges, and institutions are using online teaching as the primary mode of classes. He said that, continuing education must be seen as a challenge. The main challenges are that teachers’ pedagogical skills do not cater to the online teaching environment, nor have they been trained for these kinds of situations. And any disaster not only pandemic but also drought, floods, earthquakes etc. which is occurring we should be able to face these challenges and planning must be done accordingly. Challenges will differ from rich school to middle school to poor schools and same is the case with rich families, middle class families and poor families. Nuclear families of 4-6 members are having one Smartphone to cater to needs of entire family. There should be flexibility in education. Everyone should get access to education. Government of India has issued many guidelines from time to time but there are no guidelines for transport system for schools. Planning for classrooms is there but how school transport system will be controlled. He highlighted the issues of child, adaption framework and also raised the issue of the increasing dropout of girl child during pandemic. He urged a request that we can join hands with Government in reaching out continuity in education.
Dr.Meghna Dhar, NSS Programme Officer, University of Jammu introduced the Eminent Experts of the webinar Ms. Kamal Gaur,Deputy Director – Education, Save the Children India and Mr. Ram Singh Hapawat, Manager - Education (West Hub),Save the Children India. Ms. Kamal Gaur is a development sector professional with M.Phil degree in Social Work from University of Delhi. She is currently working as Deputy Program Director - Education in Save the Children. She has 28 years of experience in Education planning, management, appraisal, evaluation and administration ranging from Primary Education to the Higher Education sector of DFlD's global contribution to Gender Equity and Women Empowerment has been appreciated globally. Mr.Ram Singh Hapawat is working in development sector from last more than 20 years; his core area of work has been dealing with quality issues in elementary education. Presently, he is based in Jaipur, Rajasthan and supporting education portfolio of Save the Children in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Ms Kamal Gaur deliberated on how girls are affected. Learning in children is to be kept alive and we have to find out ways how to education is to be continued. As per UNESCO, around 320 million students in Indian schools and colleges are primarily characterized. Due to pandemic none of us were prepared about how to tackle with education. Children all over India has lost one tenth of education. Every State needs to study and find out ways how to manage with this crisis. She further said, that we must ensure that parents as well as grand- parents are actively involved .Education is not meant with only books but parents should engage children with colours , creative work and nature. We should ensure that children have access to education both in rural and urban areas with digital connectivity. In J&K Bal Rakshaks can be created and they are the organizations that continue education, Also talked about Masti ki Patshalla and how youth can come forward, engage children from classroom learning to digital learning. Every state publishes textbook material. The Government should create roadmap to share the small component. This roadmap will definitely help in continuity of education.
Mr. Ram Singh Hapawat, Manager - Education (West Hub), Save the Children India, deliberated on “Keeping Learning Alive”, initiatives taken by save the children for learning continuity under pandemic Coved 19. He shared his experiences and the objective achieved to provide support learning continuity of children during lockdown period and closure of schools. For this purpose distribution of textbooks and study material to children, supported in online/distance mode initiatives, created databases of children progress, team was part of WhatsApp groups created by teachers and contributed in the process supported by teachers /children in developing and sharing content. Gulmohor ECD Module of SC India covered all the 6 domains of early child hood children for the development. Save the children Baal Raksha Bharat, back to learn reach, during lockdown reached to 925 locations community libraries, LRC’s. VLRC’s, online content for parents and guardians reached to 18600 families. He said, only distributing books, study material/ digital content was not enough, they engaged Govt. teachers but due to other priorities and Covid duties they were not available. So about 1250 youth volunteers were arranged who worked for 2.30 hrs daily and also helped in other activities, like reading buddies. Online content for parents and guardians reached to 18600 families. Education kits were distributed to 32000 children and early learning kits were distributed to 8077 families. Running library in community to meet the academic needs of children and engaging them in creative activities was also done. Library at fixed and designated place or mobile library also reached to community. Each of the community space was well equipped with books and safety protocols were followed by distributing masks and maintaining physical distancing. Even in open grounds, outdoor activities were also conducted .He highlighted the major challenges that is they were not able to reach out to all the children in their interventions areas. Some parents were still hesitant. He further laid stress on resilience in community, role of parents in well being and education of children, Teachers engagement is must. Also we need to keep in mind the available resources, local context and practices and more importantly it should be aligned with the guidelines of local government.
Questions & Answers at the end were taken up by Dr. Balu I., CCDRR Centre, NIDM. Mr. Mintu Debnath, Manager – Safe Schools, Save the Children India presented vote of thanks. More than 260 participants in all age groups participated in the webinar from various parts of India with great enthusiasm and fervor. Live streaming was also available on you tube. Dr. Balu I., CCDRR Centre, NIDM and Dr. Meghna Dhar, NSS Programme Officer, University of Jammu coordinated the programme. The webinar was focused on highlighting issues and challenges of policy makers, educational institutions, school administration, teachers, caregivers and students during second surge of Covid-19.