With the surge of COVID pandemic, lockdowns everywhere are causing loss of jobs for many people. Students are out of schools. Although businesses are opening gradually, educational institutions are yet to open.
It is understandable that in the wake of the virus upsurge it was considered dangerous for schools, restaurants, meeting halls, cinemas, theaters and other places with heavy human presence to stay open. Thus, an order was enforced in cities and towns in the affected countries. Schools were closed and children were asked to stay in their homes, for their health.
Apart from Nepal, many countries had shut down their schools, colleges, and universities in the wake of the crisis. However, Nepal government took some of action abruptly like the postponing of the SEE examination less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to start. The examinations of 11th and 12th grades were also postponed indefinitely. It caught many students preparing for the exams by surprise, not to mention their dilemma and their confusion on how their education career will shape up. All these activities have hampered the academic year and date. It is almost sure that this will have an adverse effect on students, their parents and teachers.
As it is said, children are the future pillars and youths are the backbone of the nation. However, this pandemic has created a situation where no one is able to study properly. While schools, colleges and universities have been running online classes, there are no proper facilities of internet and electricity all over Nepal. There are no internet facilities for the lower level classes in rural Nepal. Thus, students are not able to learn the basic things that they should be learning at the childhood age only. For younger students, studying physically and online make a lot of difference in their understanding of the subject matter. Studying online also produces many negative impacts, particularly in the urban areas. With the availability of internet, many students are addicted to mobile phones and laptops. There are many more negative effects on education due to this pandemic.
There are wide disparities in the education system in Nepal. Wide gaps in the quality of education worsen inequality prevailing in the country. As a result, education opportunity is limited for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The past experiences have shown that the children of disadvantaged groups suffer most in calamities like covid-19 pandemic and disaster. Under these circumstances, what we can say is that children and girls in rural areas particularly from lower castes and economically disadvantaged families are most likely to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
While online education system began almost one and a half years ago, many students are struggling to obtain the gadgets required for online classes. Besides students, teachers, who are all experts on blackboard, chalk, book, and classroom teaching, are new to this digital teaching methodology. They are adopting the new methods and handling it like a pro to aid.
In rural parts of Nepal, many children are facing problems because they do not have internet and devices needed to go online. Studies have shown that the Covid- 19 has more impact on the rural areas as compared to urban areas like far west and mid-western regions of Nepal. In the absence of internet and electricity, the students as well as the teachers have been facing the problems.
However, students and teachers do not have to face many problems in urban areas. There is not much of a problem of the internet and electricity facilities here. As this is the first time, education is being imparted through a digital system in Nepal. Many problems have been occurring because teachers and students, having very little experiences about this digital teaching method, are adapting.
Given the current state of teaching and learning, the impact of Covid 19 on educations is extremely worrying. With the upsurge of new variants, one cannot predict the time for normalization. Thus, the government should try to provide internet and electricity facilities to every nook and corner of the country. This way, students of all the levels can study properly without any problem. Similarly, the government should vaccinate all the teachers and students and apply various alternative methods so that the schools and colleges can run physically as soon as possible so that students from the basic to higher levels can learn in proper ways. Also in this situation all of us should be alert about this pandemic and stay home and stay safe.