Since the news of Corona Outbreak in India, many parents and some educational institute’s, children and government agencies were alert in regard to the opening of educational institutions. Right from the 1st lockdown as being announced by the Hon’ble PM Modi, these educational institutions are closed. Many of informal institutions have to be shut down because of the economics of pricing and following by some weak schools with a smaller number of enrolments as well. The teaching staff has been fired not only by the closure of the institution but at the same time also by the running schools including the reputed ones. Teachers at large are facing the salary cut issues too, on the pretext that the fee collections are poor! On the other hand, the parents are finding it difficult to pay due to their salary issues and also on account of closure of institution not paying the fee. The COVID – 19 has left the entire stakeholders in limbo, a divided lot – one who are advocating to open them and the other to keep it shut by the time this pandemic is over. The real macro – economic then become necessary to be understood with clarity.
The great divide in the society is getting intensified day by day in the country on pretext of COVID – 19 w.r.t. opening of the educational institutions. The concerns of some of the parents is related to the wastage of an academic year that will cost dear to the country and this notion is also being seconded by even a set of economics teachers by saying, “there will be a loss of productivity in future due to closure of the institutions and this will cost heavily on the economy!”
This state of thought somewhere sent me to the stone age! Let us analyse the macro – economics perspectives on it, to unlock this damn puzzle and hope so that it shall help all of us including me of course to learn and be rational! I shall not be making traditionally graphs for better visualisation as it will take hell of a time and then embedding it in here on this platform might become and nightmare, so please put on your wisdom gear on to the fullest possible mode of analysis!
In March with the 1st lockdown being announced I shared my view to the knowns in all dimensions and aspects that,
“The current academic session and the last academic session are lost and has been zeroed by this pandemic”. Now, it is solely your prerogative whether to accept it or not, but in reality, people at large do not want to accept it due to either their ego or ignorance. Usually in practice we hardly accept a loss!
Now, the big question is why I said so? So, the background to it is as follows:
1. The current academic session witnessing lockdown still, almost half a session is gone with low productivity and effectiveness. This is so because of poor technological infrastructure being used to save money (as the platform provided was free), to quote, “Pennywise Pound foolish”. Still if the syllabus is completely covered then the biggest challenge is the fair and unbiased examination! The educational institution in India are yet graduate over their traditional thinking pattern and insecurities to implement this new age and superior pattern of evaluation. So, hereby I am sceptical about how much competent and qualified such students can be promoted to the next level of learning?
2. Secondly, the last years batch of students will not be absorbed into current session. Furthermore, if they are then how the classes will be conducted while ensuring the quality standards are met!?
3. The really challenges does not end here! The bigger challenges are:
a. As per the UGC guidelines the new session is to set off from 1st November 2020 without summer and winter break but with small semester break. It is a nice plan chalked out but, my questions are as follows:
i. What if the lockdown needs to be extended? The classes will be taken on platforms available. But how the fair examinations will be conducted? I remember that recently India’s most respected University of Delhi conducted its examination online. It was good but the biggest lag was that the answer key was posted on the YouTube!
1. So, please enlighten the society at large, accepting that this is what you call future productive workforce? If yes then why you have set such standards of evaluation where you fail a student with 1 mark and here in current times you tend to pass those who can hardly score 10 marks!?
ii. Now, if lockdown is not extended then how will the classes shall be conducted effectively?
1. By calling half set of students one day and half the other day?! Will this ensure covering of entire syllabus in time!?
2. Now, if you cut down the syllabus for these students then why students who studied the entire uncut syllabus were tortured?
3. How come the quality of both the workforce is at par?
b. How the exams of students who will be ready next year for examination of 12thclass will give exams?
i. The way CBSE promoted all on the basis of internal marks or score which is cent percent biased result!
ii. is this workforce equal w.r.t. quality to the previous batch?
iii. If no then is industry ready to accept such inferior quality of stuff for economic activity?
iv. Will the payoffs be same for such workforce?
v. Are we talking about this inferior workforce loss of productivity in future?
c. As per UGC’s latest guidelines the new starts from 1st of November and will end in next year August, so:
i. How much feasible it is for the institute and the universities to maintain and run two academic colanders simultaneously?
ii. For how long this new academic calendar is to be followed?
iii. Will Indian academic calendar shift permanently to November to August mode?
The puzzle is not over yet! Another dimension of loss of future productivity is also to be addressed still. The next set of questions are here to be addressed:
1. How social distancing is ensured in the transit and within the school premises of these students?
2. Does it sound really rational that students will strictly adhere to the norms we vomit on them in a situation when they are meeting their friends after so long?
3. Now, being pessimist, I believe that 10% of such students get infected! Do we have sufficient facilities to treat them?
4. As per the statistics of ICMR the death rate is 1.54%, so 1.54% of such students will die for sure. Are we ready to accept such deaths?
5. What is better a loss of future productivity which is temporary in nature or a loss of productivity which is permanent in nature?
6. Now, who guarantees that a bright student will not loose life due to corona and will not be the part of that 1.54%? This will to the magnitude of loss of future productivity.
7. Just to ensure that 2 stakeholders i.e. institutions are getting full fees and teachers get their full salary are ready to put students at large on stake!
8. Why the institution who charge so high capitation at the time of admission, is being used now to retain workforce in place?
a. Is that huge volume of money being collected only for your luxuries and you piss at a time like this where the economy needs you to share that corpus being so collected!?
Please do not forget the following information in the picture:
Is India ready for this thing to happen?
As a parent to two children I will not send my kids to school if they reopen! Cannot dare to take chance with their beautiful lives that me and my family cherish! In India this number will not be alike! Rather it is going to be a very high a number, we all know that deep down. Is our greed that high where, we are ready to ignore this infection and throw our flowers into uncertainty of possible infection?
Loss of an academic year does not matter that much you have invested it in learning!
Think it now relating macro – economics perspective linking it with more dimensions you will be astonished and agree with me that,
“It is not wise to open educational institutions during this pandemic time, rather be rational and human and accept that the 2 sessions are finished and needs to be scraped from the academic calendar”