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Education in & beyond 2020

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Majhar Mannan :
Year 2020 will never be erased from the world history for various reasons especially for Corona pandemic. This pandemic has been destabilizing the progress of the whole world for 9 months. The year 2020 came to an end through corona pandemic and the whole world is going to get a new year. The year 2020 has taught us a lot and now is the time to forget about the dilapidated backyard and decorate the New Year 2021. We all have to move forward with the expectation that something good will happen in the New Year and all the hardships of the previous year will vanish. It is the eternal reality of the nature and man to push back the old and embrace the new. Human life is in this world is very short and a year in human life is very fleeting but significant. William Shakespeare said, time is a silent killer. Even in short period of time, people move forward by inventing new things. In 2020, the people of the world may have a lot of achievements yet this year will remain a year of sorrow in people's memories. Covid-19 struck early in the year and is still continuing. Nine months of 2020 have passed through a turbulent situation. Corona has taken the lives of millions and harmed many people.
Educational institutions have been closed since the corona pandemic hit Bangladesh. No one can confirm when the educational will open. Millions of students are confined in home today. The most favourite place for students is the educational institutions and they are away from it for nine months. This corona pandemic has taken away a precious time from the lives of students. Corona has dealt a severe blow to the education system and created a stalemate. The progress of education is constantly being hindered. Classes and examinations of all educational institutions of the country have been closed from March 17, 2020. Considering the severity of the virus, the government has closed educational institutions. Due to the pandemic, PEC and JSC examinations could not be taken. It was not possible to take annual examinations of different classes of educational institutions. Students could not take part in the most important public examinations. HSC examination was not held and it was decided to give auto pass to the students. However, on four conditions, the government allowed English medium students to appear in O & A level exams in October- November under the management of the British council. All economic activities including office-court have already begun but the educational institutions are closed due to the severity of corona.
At the beginning of the year, the children got new books but they did not get a chance to go to schools with them. The students' study life has been ruined due to this unusual break for a long time and they are not feeling well mentally.  Schools play a big role in children's social learning and that work is now closed. The education sector of the whole world is in a dire situation today. The whole education system is in the face of uncertainty and there is a kind of isolation and frustration among the students. However, due to the sincere efforts of the government and educational institutions, online classes are going on in full swing during this vacation. These classes are being run in different ways. Classes and examinations are being taken through Zoom apps. Rural students are not getting as much  of these technological advantages as urban students are getting. Village students have very little access to internet and modern devices. Online classes are certainly a good initiative in this corona pandemic but equal opportunities for all students in online classes could not be ensured.
SSC result could not be published in time due to corona and the students could not go to their institutions and express their excitement. However, the SSC result has been published late and the students have taken admission in the college of their choice. Classes are being broadcast on Sangsad Television from April 7, 2020 after the closure of educational institutions. However, it was not possible to bring hundred percent students under it and through this it has been possible to reach the lessons to 52 percent of the students. Online classes for secondary level students started from March 29, 2020 but due to internet problems and lack of devices 100 percent of the students did not get this facility. Universities have started online classes after the meeting with Grants Commission, but not all universities have yet fully launched online classes. Many educational institutions do not have the technological support to conduct online classes. Yet there is no shortage of efforts to keep the education system moving. In the field of primary education, the effort to run the curriculum through an app called ''Hello Teacher'' is noteworthy. Using this app, students will be able to learn from the teachers of their choice. Efforts are being made to continue educational activities through Radio. Initiatives are being taken to run educational activities through hotline services using mobile phones.
There is a lot of discussion going on about the post-corona education program and the government is also going to take important steps in this regard. A number of initiatives are being taken to make up for the loss of corona, including the formulation of appropriate syllabus, reformation of exam system, curriculum revision and reformation of text books. The government has signaled a radical change in the education system and expressed to ensure quality education. In developed countries, institutional classes as well as online activities run throughout the year. But a different picture can be seen in our country and our education system is dependent on class based teaching. It is easy to run online education in developed countries but not in developing countries. And that is why there is a kind of stagnation in our education sector. The number of students in our country is over 4 crore and four important public examinations have been closed for a long time. If online materials and low cost internet facilities are provided for the needy students then the benefits will come more.
Online classes and recordings can also be arranged on social media. NCTB has launched a book distribution program for the New Year and it has been decided to deliver books to the students from door to door. However, it will be better to give e-books in the form of digital devices considering the importance of online classes. This will reduce the cost and students will be quite happy. The frustration among the students is increasing day by day. Since 14 lakh HSC candidates did not get chance to appear in the public exam this year, they have to be satisfied with the auto-pass. While some were happy with this auto-pass and some did not take it well, but the government had no option but to arrange such evaluation. The SSC exam is scheduled to be held from February 2021 but it is difficult to say what is in its destiny. According to some, auto-pass is not a good solution and this auto-pass will increase the complexity in higher education. However, it is not too late for good days to come in the education sector. Corona vaccine is coming to the country soon and there is no problem in reopening the educational institutions if it is possible to vaccinate successfully and when the winter is over. It is hoped that the educational institutions will open in 2021 and the activities of education sector will go well. But questions have also been raised about whether the students will be able to cope with the stress of 2020. There will be a huge pressure on the education sector in 2021 to make up for the losses of 2020. Therefore, there is already a need to reshape the education system in 2021. The good news is that work has already begun on textbooks and examination reformation to reshape the post corona education.

(Majhar Mannan is Assistant Professor, B A F Shaheen College Kurmitola,
Dhaka Cantonment).

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