Nickeled & Dimed

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Pravaalika, Chennai

Change from face to face education to virtual is a new experience. As I have taken design, not having a workshop space seems like it’s a small issue, not being able to meet my classmates and discuss what happens in class. It feels like there is a barrier in communication. I feel like the government has adopted strategies that have been moderately effective. I personally feel, more importance could be given to the education of students and the norms governing them. The government has reduced the class timings to make it more convenient for the students. For children to manage their stress, they have been given holidays from 21st-25th.The education system has both negatives and positives. A key negative is that a great number of schools and colleges don’t provide any means of support for kids to talk to someone and speak about the stress from studying. Government schools and colleges should have psychologists or therapists for students to contact when they have issues. The postponement of exams and classes keeps causing confusion and stress.

Manav Gokaldas, SJCC, Bangalore

It (the pandemic) has worked as a catalyst for the educational institutions to grow and opt for platforms and techniques, which have not been used before. The education sector has been fighting to survive the crises with a different approach and digitizing the challenges to wash away the threat of the pandemic. I’ll highlight a few measures taken by the government. Measures taken by the educational institutes such as closed schools, postponed or rescheduled the examinations, cleaning and sanitization of premises, consideration of long-term uncertainty etc.

The lockdown has generated uncertainty over the exam cycle. Maybe universities may face impact in terms of a slowdown in student internships and placements, lower fee collection that can create hurdles in managing the working capital. I am a book person and have always done my reading from books. This time it was challenging for me to depend on PDFs and other sources online. Speaking about affecting mental health, it hasn’t been too tedious since it has started. Eventually we have to adapt according to changing times, classes are being conducted online temporarily but of course for people who have no access to a stable Internet connection or a mobile or a laptop to be able to sit for classes probably are feeling it a bit too hard and they have to be taken into consideration.

Yashvi Agarwal, Kolkata

This pandemic has undoubtedly affected my education in ways I never imagined it would. Many of my peers and myself made the cut off and met the requirement for universities abroad but certain limitations imposed on our country and other nations did not permit us to get admitted to those institutions- our dream institutions. We had to go for our B or C list universities that are safer and closer to home.

Moreover, we’re facing a tonne of issues in the institutions that were studying in now, namely- uncomfort in asking questions and interacting with people I’ve never met in person, major technological glitches (leading to time waste), casual homely environment that does not push us to give our best, and the list goes on, privacy issues at home.

Personally, I’m not satisfied with this online form of learning.

The schools of local governments, as far as my knowledge concerns, have taken the best possible measures in their capacity. However, this doesn’t mean that the strategies aren’t good. These strategies are best in the capacity of the schools and are flexible too, for a student friendly environment.

Nevertheless, they have their drawbacks that can’t be neglected. The education system has had both a positive and a negative impact on our mental health.

On the one hand, students have been reassured that they won’t miss out on learning and starting their post-school education because of the pandemic. Most colleges have online learning, office hours with professors and teaching assistants for extra help. These facilities have given confidence to students.

On the other hand, it has also negatively impacted students like me, who’re transitioning from school to colleges in other cities. It’s very difficult to be in a class with 100 odd people one hasn’t ever met in person. Making friends is a very major part of any educational journey and we’re evidently missing out on that. Last but not the least, students who are inclined towards co-curricular activities are facing a lot of issues busting their academic stress because most club activities and sports cannot be made use of in an online environment.

Kshitija Venkat, New Delhi

COVID -19 has definitely affected my studies to a very large extent. The quality of education received through one to one interaction in a formalized institute cannot be received by online classes. But I feel it has also given me more time to concentrate and study within my comfort. The greatest difficulty I am facing currently, is the methodology followed to conduct exams.

Even though my school has put in great effort to help us in all means, my teachers have definitely worked hard- shown us videos and performed live experiments- to improve the quality of learning as well as our understanding of the subject. Our education system has affected our mental health a lot.  ‘Rote learning’ as a method definitely causes a lot of stress. More than that, the emphasis laid on only academic scores to define/ award a child is very disturbing. This pandemic has affected our mental health in both positive and negative manners. When something new is introduced, it always creates hassles as we are still trying to adapt to the new normal. Due to this pandemic, we have come across a lot of changes, For eg – the social interaction I had with friends which helped me balance out studies and relaxation.  But on the other hand, the govt. has realized the importance of change and has brought about new changes in our education system. Not only that, personally I save a lot travel time during which I rest which keeps me relaxed and refreshed.

Faisal Majeed, Jammu and Kashmir

While COVID-19 has worked as a catalyst for the educational institutions to opt for techniques, which have not been used before, all the students are not able to access these platforms as they require better amenities as classes are not the same in the virtual format. While the education sector has been fighting to survive the crises with a different approach to wash away the threat of the pandemic, still there are some things which it failed to take care of. I live in Anantnag, and getting a high-speed internet connection here is really a challenge. I had to face a lot of problems due to lack of a stable internet connection. During the lockdown I was not able to attend classes due to lack of internet connection as mobile internet was also shut, not able to interact with other students and people from different departments which I believe is necessary for proper understanding of concepts, lack of social touch etc. It ruined my mental health which ultimately affected my education.

Apart from COVID pandemic, I believe we’re in the midst of a mental health epidemic. As per WHO, depression is the most widespread illness. There are different factors, but without a doubt one of the factors is the failing of our traditional education systems. With an overwhelming workload and more emphasis on grades and jobs than exploration, wonder and awe, I think education is failing in mental health.

The COVID 19 pandemic affected my mental health to a great extent. The lack of social interaction amplified my depression and my insecurities. “Stay at home” orders resulted in more overthinking, more emotional distress, which affected my overall lifestyle.

Regular classes have been replaced by online classes. They are not very helpful, but as they say, something is better than nothing. Exams of some students were conducted, and as per the news, proper arrangements were made to maintain social distance and prevent the spread of the virus.

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