KATHMANDU, APRIL 14
The year 2021 is bound to change many things in our lives. Education is definitely one of them. Children in the upcoming days will surely continue to learn but very differently. It will be online, with social media.
The first phase of COVID-19 is almost over now. The immediate prevention and control measures caused less human losses in Nepal. But the second phase of COVID-19 is already causing alarm. Therefore, the chances of students returning to school in the next season are still uncertain.
It looks like we will be dealing with the dreaded virus for some time to come.
The high rate of infections in foreign countries has put our government in a dilemma over whether to clamp a lockdown this time around.
The increasing rate of infection in neighbouring countries means that it will also spread in Nepal.
India has been recording more than 100,000 cases daily.
Although China has managed to control the pandemic effectively, there is still that probability of new cases surfacing in the near future.
European nations are still facing lockdowns, and all school classes are taking place online.
In a few cities of Nepal, more than one in five public school children participated in virtual learning. The government does not have the infrastructure to provide education digitally to the less fortunate ones. Networking and study tutorials are not sufficient for the children.
Even if they are provided, there is lack of knowledge about how to use them.
Most of Nepal's schools do not have the resources to practice the prescribed safety standards that include physical distancing and face-masking.
Community schools still don't have washrooms and clean drinking water to wash hands.
This academic session is sure to pass, but the upcoming educational season is truly uncertain.
There is, thus, a need to look for alternatives that can be used creatively for the rest of the period.
The government should not forget the lessons that the first phase of the corona pandemic has taught. To respond to all these challenges the government must be resourceful and tactful.
At present, distance learning in the community schools is challenging. Therefore, it is necessary for the government to bring educational packages that will compensate for the academic loss.
It is necessary to plan only after adequate discussion on the option of conducting educational activities according to the impact of the coronavirus at the local level, not the country as a whole.
A version of this article appears in the print on April 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.