The Flipside of Pandemic

A salute to Front line warriors – In Medicine
It is an undeniable fact that COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal lifestyle of people across the globe. While on one hand people across India and around the globe are largely confined to their homes with businesses and educational institutions all shut down in an attempt to contain the virus, there are on the other hand doctors, health-care workers, and medical staff members who are leading the battle against COVID-19 from the front. While the deadly virus has brought attention to the inadequacies in the health-care systems across the globe, nevertheless, doctors and health-care workers have been risking their lives working on ground Zero to save us all. An irrefutable fact is putting their own lives at risk with selfless determination for the sake of saving lives, they truly are our heroes in these challenging times.

Our Unsung heroes – In Education
While our Medical staff to whom we are eternally and extremely grateful for their face to face fight with the enemy, there are, on other side, unsung heroes fighting this enemy from different domain for whom according to me, due credit is missing at times. These are our teaching staff getting accustomed to a process which they were never familiar before. A strange domain from where they have to operate for which prior training was never provided for them. All of a sudden, and because of something that is totally out of our control, students are learning remotely and both educators and administrators are in the permanent search of new tools and paths to face challenges they haven’t faced earlier. An on line survey conducted by a reputed Institution showed that while children face issues in accessing education digitally, teachers face issues in delivering education through digital mediums. A staggering 84% of teachers reported facing challenges in delivering education digitally with close to half the teachers facing issues related to the internet both signal issues and data expenses.

Mitigating Challenges.
Barring the shortfalls, the virtual world came to the rescue. As a result, many educational institutions shifted their base to virtual platforms to conduct classes online. Consequently, catering to needs of all stages of academics, online education emerged as the perfect alternative.

Various stakeholders are still trying their best to spruce up existing online platforms, apps, etc, and provide training to teachers to use them to optimum level. Upskilling and motivating teachers, organizing counselling sessions for parents and students are some of the important measures taken up by respective administration in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Virtual teaching methods are hot topics everywhere we go. As it was, principals and teachers were literally exhausted and tired with conventional face-to-face teaching methods. Nevertheless, online teaching was thrust on them which has been frustrating at times, and tough on those who were not fully acquainted with the technology. Obviously, there were horrendous challenges to put this system in place.

All said and done, during COVID-19 crisis, teachers were the first line of defense to ensure educational activities were kept going in spite of all the challenges. They ensured the war on educational institutions was not defeated. But only a handful people will understand how difficult it is to control 30 plus minds with two eyes and one screen. I have personally witnessed my grandchildren attending the on-line classes and was amazed to see how well they have evolved in using the loopholes.

To the Teaching staff therefore who are also our first frontline warriors from a different domain we are grateful for what they have done for their peers. We pray to Almighty that this phase may end soon and normal face to face classroom resumes.

In acknowledging their efforts and as a gesture of gratitude for their hardships, I feel proud to dedicate to our teachers this small write up on “Pormoll”. Although professionals from this field were never my favorite when I went to school, today I can see the value of their efforts and fruits of their discipline and how important they are in shaping our lives.

So along with the Medical staff let us pray to God for our Teachers as well so that HE might fill them with His wisdom, patience, strength, joy and peace.

Stay safe and continue to shine!

With Warmest salutations.

-Agnello A. S. Fernandes