The second edition of the Tagore International Literature & Arts Festival ‘Vishwarang’, which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, brought into focus a series of issues of current relevance. One such topic is ‘The Post-COVID World: Our Education System and Indian Perspective’, which was discussed at length in a session wherein the speakers talked about the challenges in the education system due to the COVID-19 pandemic and how to overcome them with the help of technology.
The speakers for this session were Mr Amitabh Saxena (Vice Chancellor, Dr C.V. Raman University, Khandwa), Dr Pankaj Mittal (Secretary, Association of Indian Universities) and Mr Mukul Kanitkar (National Organizing Secretary, Bharatiya Shikshan Mandal). Mr Santosh Kumar Choubey, the Director of Vishwarang 2020 and Chancellor of Rabindranath Tagore University Bhopal, moderated the session.
Dr Pankaj Mittal put forward some key points like promoting online education, reforming curriculum, examination and content in higher education. She said, “I feel that the pre and post COVID eras will be completely different from each other. Earlier whenever we would ask our teachers about online education, they seemed very reluctant about it and used to think that they were not meant for online teaching. But I was shocked to see how our teachers instantly transformed themselves and started online education quickly when all the universities and colleges were shut and the students and teachers were in their respective homes. So, the post-COVID era will witness a blended mode where a mixture of online as well as offline education will pertain and for that we will need a lot of educational resources.”
“There are a lot of open educational resources available and a lot of them are being produced by our teachers. They will require a lot of training to make quality online resources. That’s why we need to train our teachers in the coming days as online teaching will require assignments, quizzes and an engagement with the students. The way of teaching needs to be changed, we need to incline ourselves towards a flip classroom model. In the coming times, the curriculum will be different due to the arrival of the National Education Policy and the prime focus will be on creativity rather than learning, on the students’ curiosity and application-oriented studies. Therefore, it will be necessary for a change in curriculum as well. Universities that used to invest in the brick and mortar structure will now invest more on technology. Government as well as universities both should pay attention to the fact that they need to create technology-enabled universities and campuses. Even the evaluation method will be different post-COVID as the assessment would be on projects, face-to-face interview, assignments and more.” Dr Mittal added.
During the session, Mr Amitabh Saxena mentioned about the need for better vision and innovation in our approach towards research. He said, “We have to check whether research is solving problems. The vision for research should be evolved in such a way that results and inferences of research should help the society. There needs to be new thinking in research to make sure there is an evolution. We have to also make sure that if there is an evolution, then we have to check whether it can be scaled from national to global level. Times are changing and employment is also witnessing changes that are beyond our thinking. Many avenues of employment are obsolete, but many other employment opportunities are being discovered. We have to create awareness among students about new employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.”
Talking about the method of education that needs to be implemented to cater to the current situation, M Mukul Kanitkar said, “The platform that is made for online learning is called ‘Learning Management System’. It is teacher and student centric learning. In today’s futuristic scenario, where technology is used for education by almost all educational institutions, they should also have the same motto of keeping it as teacher and student friendly learning. Another important aspect to consider is blending, meaning knowledge and evidence should be mixed, which will make it fruitful for the students.”
Organized by Bhopal-based Rabindranath Tagore University (RNTU), in collaboration with the Tagore International Centre for Arts and Culture Bhopal and the AISECT Group of Universities, Vishwarang 2020 aimed to promote Indian literature, art and culture on a global scale via discussions, discourse and more. Other than the session on ‘The Post-COVID World: Our Education System and Indian Perspective’, Vishwarang 2020 hosted 72 online sessions over 10 days from 20th to 29th November on topics such as ‘The Post-COVID World: Future of Entrepreneurship’, ‘The Post-COVID World: Future of Arts & Culture’, ‘The Post-COVID World: Future of Healthcare’, ‘Women in Indian Arts’, ‘Contemporary Concerns in World Literature’ and many more.