Education is the anvil that hammers out the tenets of civilization. As an educationist, I adhere to the diktat, that if they cannot learn the way we teach; we teach the way they can learn. This quote exemplifies adroitly how each child is as unique as a snowflake and needs to be nurtured with utmost care so he can optimize his full potential. Our aim as educators is to equip our students with a skill set that endures and makes them adept at adapting to any social or economic situation that may be foisted upon them.

The Covid 19 pandemic indubitably threw our lives as we know it and specifically the education system, into a state of shock and pandemonium! The anxiety and concern of both the student and the teaching fraternity were palpable and justifiable. No one envisaged, to begin with, that the pandemic would last for more than a year and the online teaching platform was to endure through the academic session.

For the elementary students, the concern was not merely the lack of cognitive skills enhancement but also justifiable queries from parents regarding the honing of psycho-social skills. As we are aware the age group of 2 years to 7 years felt the worst of the impact. The world as they knew it had been annihilated, it was as if a rug had been pulled out from under their feet! Suddenly and inexplicably there was no school, no friends, no playtime in the park, only a family of grim-looking adults lurking with trepidation.

The school’s role in the case of Elementary was two-fold, assuaging the concerns of parents who were frustrated in their efforts to get their toddlers to sit still and look at a laptop screen. They had concerns about the extended screen time, which could be detrimental to the eye-sight. And much to the chagrin of the students themselves, who only got to see their peers and the teacher for around 45 minutes in a day.

The middle and senior school students were also inundated with a feeling of uncertainty and skepticism regarding the course of their education. Lack of social interaction and the bonhomie of a classroom dynamic, which is not only about gaining knowledge but also debating and interacting with their peers, inside and outside the classroom.

The lack of Physical Education was most keenly felt across all the age groups. The multifarious team-building competitions which are scheduled in the academic calendar were also put on hold. Though, at this juncture, I must mention that Swiss Cottage school hosted an inter-school online dance competition, which was a resounding success.

That being said, the educational fraternity rose to this challenge with aplomb and implemented relevant innovations in pedagogy to minimize the impact of Covid on our students. At the end of the day, the most important factor is to keep the beacon of knowledge and education burning bright, circumstances, notwithstanding.

Neena Thimmaya

Swiss Cottage School, Delhi