Government committed to ensure education under ‘New Normal’ conditions

Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday stated that the government is committed to continue education even during the pandemic since it is a basic right of the children.

“There is uncertainty surrounding almost every aspect of the COVID-19 crisis. But taking it as a challenge, the Education Ministry in collaboration with relevant other authorities including health and transport has taken measures to ensure a safe education background for the children,” he said.

The Minister made this observation at a special media briefing held online at the Government Information Department.

Deputy Director General of Health Services, Consultant Community Physician Dr.Susie Perera yesterday stated that the preparations made to follow the health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus in schools are at a very satisfactory level.

Dr. Perera further stated that the risk of developing COVID clusters linked to schools is very low. She also said that and that there is a system in place at the school level to monitor the health facilities installed at schools.

She said parents should act responsibly in not sending a quarantined child to school and also desist from sending children to school if they have symptoms like flu, the common cold or a cough. She stressed the strong need to continue education and urged everyone to extend their support to control the COVID situation of the country.

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How Can We Ensure Access To Online Classes During The Pandemic?

Around 320 million students in India have been affected due to the lockdown of the schools and institutes. That covers around  23.7% of the population of India. What do you think will happen if we don’t come up with a solution now? Every minute of delay in correcting or implementing solutions for this situation will probably make a child leave education forever. I don’t want to think of such a scenario, and neither should you.

The only way to prevent this situation from happening is to act now. The future doesn’t seem favourable for the people doing mundane or repetitive work as artificial intelligence is almost at our doors, and the future is not looking bright.

India is one of the youngest countries globally as it is in a period of ‘demographic dividend‘ and we need to leverage this, rather than make it a burden, by upskilling the youth and investing in education. When you compare the population in the age group 0-9 that is 241 million, with the age group 10-19, which is 252 million, one can see that India is at the peak of its demand for education. We need to act now.

Due to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic for the past seven months, schools and institutes have shifted to the online mode of teaching. But, at least 27% of students do not have access to smartphones or laptops, according to an NCERT survey with over 34,000 students and parents. Our focus should be on how to cater to these children’s problems.

When you think of how many from this 27% of children will go back to school once the school opens, the situation is bleak. They might not want to pursue an education in the future once they see that they are lagging behind compared to their peers. If we improve the infrastructure of online education, it will help us with the present situation and build towards the final goal of digital India. We can later use this existing infrastructure to improve the education quality by leveraging the digital medium.

Everyone needs to be educated
We should try to make education accessible for everyone.

We have proposed some models on how the government can improve the existing online medium of education to accommodate the 27% of children and work towards digital India. When the lockdown started, BYJUs had added free live classes on its platform. They said that their live classes would “remain free for students across the country until the current situation persists.” Similarly, started the Toppr Asha program, supported by the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, as a part of its CSR activity. But, it was limited in its scope, because it has some conditions, as the students had to be comfortable taking tests in English, and had to have a smartphone at home with a stable internet connection. Such conditions do not ensure a pan-India approach, and hence the solution has to be more inclusive.

The NEP 2020 Advantage

The education sector can

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Aurora Institute Calls on State Leaders to Dismantle K-12 Education as We Know It and Commit to a Learner Promise to Ensure Equity for All

Aurora Institute Calls on State Leaders to Dismantle K-12 Education as We Know It and Commit to a Learner Promise to Ensure Equity for All

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2020

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Aurora Institute (@Aurora_Inst) today released A Promise for Equitable Futures: Enabling Systems Change to Scale Educational and Economic Mobility Pathways, a book that calls for the systematic dismantling of the traditional time- and place-bound structures that mark our current K-12 education system. 

Visit the iNACOL website: (PRNewsfoto/iNACOL)
Visit the iNACOL website: (PRNewsfoto/iNACOL)

In its place, states would build systems of governance, policy, and infrastructure to certify that learners who demonstrate competencies in K-12, postsecondary, workforce, and community settings will have access to continuing education and a purposeful, living-wage career. 

The book urges states to establish a “Learner Promise,” a commitment that every learner will have access and support to pursue a certified pathway with system-wide opportunities that guarantee entry into a meaningful, chosen career that will build social and economic capital over the course of their lives. In addition, states would commit to taking the systemic action to specifically disrupt inequities in access, engagement, and attainment for Black, Latinx, Indigenous people, and people from low-income households. 

Moreover, states would let go of the notion that education should be a linear, time-bound sequence of learning that occurs within institutions of formal education. Rather, K-12 education can be reimagined as a “learning ecosystem.” A more aligned, coherent ecosystem would be an equitable, dynamic, and responsive system in which learners can customize their learning experiences. 

“As a nation, we have been taught to believe in a story that goes like this: success in college is the way to a good job. Success in high school is the way to a good college, and schools are equalizers where motivated, capable youth can achieve mobility along a certain and certified path,” said author Katherine Casey. “The problem with this story is that it is not true.”

Co-author Susan Patrick, President and CEO of the Aurora Institute, asks, “”How can we scale innovations with supportive policies and practices? A Promise for Equitable Futures is a call to action for states with policy recommendations to create aligned, coherent competency-based education and workforce development systems throughout K-12 education, postsecondary, and the workforce. It challenges policy leaders to fundamentally rethink the structure and design of education systems and makes a collective call to develop new equity-driven ecosystems for lifelong learning in the United States.”

The siloed, factory-model of today’s education system was designed more than 100 years ago to send some young people to college, send some to the trades, and to assimilate the rest into a dominant culture. Today, the evolving realities of work and learning demand that all learners receive some postsecondary education. It’s also clear that a four-year degree is not the sole pathway to social and economic mobility. The incredible costs of increasing inequality on our world make the inequitable outcomes of

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