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Dr DC Saxena, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Swami Vivekananda Subharti University, Meerut: Situation has offered challenges and opportunities

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Dr DC Saxena

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected all walks of life in more than 190 countries. The impact of health and non-health related initiatives like lockdowns, social distancing, etc., by different Governments shall be evident with time only. Billions of students going to primary, secondary and higher education institutions are directly affected due to closure of these institutions. According to an UNICEF report, 87% of world’s student population in 160 countries is affected by the pandemic. The higher education directly impacts the growth, development and most importantly the economy of a nation.

The COVID-19 pandemic has offered both challenges and opportunities for the modern education system, besides redefining the role of HEIs present juncture.

THE ROLE

1. HEIs with medical institutions to extend and diagnosis, treatment and expert care facilities – emergency plan preparation

2. Integration and cooperation with Health Authorities in providing space for isolation and quarantine

3. HEIs with Tele-Medicine facilities to provide extension and consultation services outreach and difficult terrain

4. Volunteers from NCC, etc to assist the administration, health authorities and the civil society in non-medical interventions

5. Alleviation of the concerns and anxiety of students

6. Providing psychological and moral support to the students and parents

THE CHALLENGES

1. Suspension of classes and event cancellations

2. Communication with students

3. Rescheduling of academic calendar including the examinations

4. Movement restrictions for faculty hampering work on-campus education being non-essential services

5. Tele-working from home, especially those preparing for accreditations

6. Creation of sites by HEIs for remote learning; virtual classes

7. Adverse impact on research, especially laboratory and experimental types

8. Non-availability of library resource to researchers due to lock downs

9. Providing hyper-connectivity to students and faculty

10. Ensuring safety of vulnerable students and high risk faculty

11. Safe travel of students to their homes and facilitate those staying back in hostels

12. Supply of essential services and provisions in the Campus

THE OPPORTUNITIES

1. ON-line Learning Platforms like SWAYAM, MOOCS, NPTEL, and other private resources get an opportunity to redefine their strategies

2. Opportunity to create e-resources for learning; virtual classes, lectures, demonstrations, simulated laboratory and other interactive initiatives

3. Strengthening the e-learning resources like e-library like DELNET and others

4. Promotion of distance learning modes

5. Development of information sharing systems at portals of HEIs

6. Development and implementation of Health Hygiene practices in the Campus

7. Development of efficient channels for communication with community for correct and authentic information on pandemic

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