The COVID-19 pandemic has not stopped at national borders. It has affected people regardless of nationality, level of education, income or gender. But the same has not been true for its consequences, which have hit the most vulnerable hardest.
More than 1 billion children are at risk of falling behind due to school closures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19. To keep the world’s children learning, countries have been implementing remote education programmes. Yet many of the world’s children – particularly those in poorer households – do not have internet access, personal computers, TVs or even radio at home, amplifying the effects of existing learning inequalities. Students lacking access to the technologies needed for home-based learning have limited means to continue their education. As a result, many face the risk of never returning to school, undoing years of progress made in education around the world. While the educational community has made concerted efforts to maintain learning continuity during this period, children and students have had to rely more on other resources to continue learning remotely through the Internet, television or radio. Teachers also had to adapt to new pedagogical concepts and modes of delivery of teaching, for which they may not have been trained. In particular, learners in the most marginalised groups, who don’t have access to digital learning resources or lack the resilience and engagement to learn on their own, are at risk of falling behind. The outbreak of COVID-19 has taught us that change is inevitable. It has worked as a catalyst for the educational institutions to grow and opt for platforms with technologies, which have not been used before. The education sector has been fighting to survive the crises with a different approach and digitising the challenges to wash away the threat of the pandemic.
We all are going through an unprecedented global pandemic bringing uncertainty, despair and doubt in our lives. Each one of us, our families, our community, our country and the world around is struggling to get used to this ‘new normal’. Many of you must be feeling stressed out thinking about how it might affect your academics and future.
We at school, want to express our solidarity with each one of you and I wish to assure you my dear students that, we are in this journey, together. We have, without wasting any precious time, as a school, risen to the occasion, and taken up this challenge by taking our schooling and your education to the virtual platform completely. This is a new platform for each one of us with its own set of challenges and limitations. The Virtual Platform has in a big way, passed on the onus of learning to you. Each and every teacher of yours is trying his/her level best to provide you with the best of learning resources and aids, but it is you who has to adapt to them and use them effectively for the purpose of your personal growth and benefit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to students, educators, and parents. Children already coping with mental health conditions have been especially vulnerable to the changes, and now we are learning about the broad impacts on students as a result of schools being closed, physically distancing guidelines and isolation, and other unexpected changes to their lives.
Excessive use of mobile phones and laptops can create distraction. Fix a time to study and be focused. When you are done, fix a time to refresh yourself by listening to music, taking a nap or anything that you like. Communicate to others at home that will be studying. It is so important to let your family members know that you are studying to avoid unnecessary disturbance.
There is no point of studying when you are not focussed. During your chosen time, stay dedicated and focussed. If you go over your decided study time, great! That means your hyper-focus helped you to study hard and prepare even more than you had planned. When feeling bored or unfocussed, you can take short breaks, stretch yourself, have some snacks and get back to study.
When you study hard, don’t forget to reward yourself. Studying in these times, when the whole world is going through a pandemic might be very difficult.
Don’t forget to reward yourself for doing so by eating your favourite desert, watching your favourite web series or just sleeping, whatever you like to do.
Keep reading. Whether you are reading out of pleasure or for reference, just keep reading. Studies show that reading increases your vocabulary and improves your grammar. It also helps to stimulate your mind in downtime.
Set some realistic goals that you can achieve. The goals should not be easily achievable or hard to achieve. Analyse your calibre before setting them. Once achieved, reward yourself again or take a break!
Maintain your physical health
Being physically active is so important for an active brain. Play indoor, exercise often, dance and eat healthy food. When you are physically fit you think of more innovative ideas to be better.
Manage mental health
It is so important to manage your mental health in these difficult times. Learn how to balance your emotions. A person who is emotionally strong is often more focussed and concentrated towards the goals they want to achieve.
Boost your study skills
Focus on becoming a better student. Improve your hand writing, learn how to make notes that you can remember for a longer time. Be an organised student, finish your assignment on time, and be creative.
Keep your social connections
Connect with your school friends and batch mates regularly through video chats and other applications. Have healthy discussions on various topics academically and non-academically. Social isolation may lead to loneliness. Make sure that you connect with them daily.
Do not cheat yourself
These are online classes, so no one can keep a constant check on you, except you yourself. You will eventually only cheat your future success and happiness! Self-Evaluate critically and lower your resistance to feedback, embrace your weaknesses, work on your strengths and give your studies all you have, your 100%
Make a realistic timetable covering all your subjects- Try and practice at least 3 subjects on a daily basis. Paste the timetable right in front of you so that you are aware whether you are on track or not. Practice writing more and more.
(The author is working as Chief Coordinator DPS, Jammu)