GUWAHATI, May 23 - Royal Global University (RGU) has started a webinar speaker series on the topic ‘The new normal for education sector post lockdown’, according to a press release.
Starting the deliberations on May 22, RGU Vice Chancellor Prof SP Singh said the corona pandemic has made 1.3 billion students worldwide adjust to the fear of the disease which has put them indoors, away from their favourite classroom and playfield. In the Indian context, he pointed out how faculty have taken on the pandemic full on by teaching from home and completing the syllabuses in time. Post lockdown are unknown times where the University Grants Commission has laid down guidelines to follow for examinations, admissions and conducting classes in hybrid modes. SWAYAM, SWAYAMPRABHA and other such online modes of imparting classes are here to stay but the best modality confirming to social distancing and abiding by the health regulatory guidelines will be followed for compliance and safety, he said. He stressed, ‘Work for home and work from home’.
Chairperson (Academic) RGU, Prof AK Buragohain emphasised that humanity has to learn to co-exist with the virus and retrospectively, it now seems that when UGC had asked all higher education institutions to be prepared with the robust SWAYAM platform by December 2019, it was propelling higher education to be prepared for any pandemic. All libraries across India are connected under IIT-K, providing online study material for both faculty and student, he said. He further stated that social institutions will forever be required as they instill values and virtues since ‘Wheels of civilisation roll out of institutions’. There are apprehensions galore preventing critical thinking but “we have to embark upon research to find solutions”, he said.
Prof KK Baruah opined that technology-driven education cannot replace brick and mortar education. Online and offline education is the new niche and students have to be taught to be psychologically fit to adapt to the new world order.
Prof Krishna Barua cited the example of developed countries inculcating new HR policies of recruiting personnel based on their online and offline verbal and non-verbal communication.
Gautam Sarma stressed that post lockdown does not mean that the virus has gone away but people must learn to live with it until a vaccine is found. History is replete with survival tactics from wars, famines, natural calamities and human-created dubiousness. Institutions can create a transparent barrier maintaining social distancing and sanitization for teaching, he added.
Prof Pradip Jyoti Mahanta spoke on the yeoman’s service RGU is rendering in bridging the gap by organising webinars and classes and stressed that scientists and educationists must strategise education post COVID-19.
Prof Amarendra Rajput shared his views on how crisis had created new inventions, new ideas and newer vistas, but not despair. Remedies and alternatives have to be found so that all stakeholders benefit, he said.
All speakers in the webinar fielded questions on examinations, job opportunities, practical classes and psychological issues. They opined that music, yoga, history, family time and an open mind to adapt oneself to changing situations will be the new normal.
The opening webinar, moderated by Arpee Saikia, Assistant Professor of Royal School of Business, was attended by more than 600 vice chancellors, academicians, faculty, students and staff of different universities and schools from across India, the release added.