The demand for a zero academic year is one of the most controversial topic in this pandemic. The online classes going on now are an emulation of real classrooms, and also a travesty of education.
Moreover, the availability of digital devices continues to cause a huge gap in society. It is in this context that the demand for this year to be considered a zero academic year is emerging from various quarters of society. But do you think that this would be right choice, keeping in mind the quality education as well as career of students?
If students are not able to successfully complete an academic year, it deprives them the basics to progress to higher levels. But this is a unique situation in which no student is able to complete the minimum requirements for getting promoted to the next level. This is where the discussion of the zero academic year comes into play. A zero academic year makes all students eligible to proceed to the next stage without any screening. To put it a little more clearly, zero academic year means giving everyone the right to enter the next level without the mandated teaching-learning process. Yes ! you read it right , it's just as jumping to the next level without going through the evaluation process.
What is currently going on as part of online education is only a digital copying of the teaching process in the classroom, where a teacher teaches and students watch remotely. Better than zero academic but yet again this is one sort of real struggle faced by everyone who's part of this, be it teachers or students.
I don't remember the last day when i actually used my brain to solve any question, it's now been a habit to Google even the simplest question. Can any one imagine a doctor that have worked on patients and bodies online? A electrical engineer without going though the stacks of wires and circuits practically? And ofcourse a chemical engineer without visiting to chemical labs? Recently the 10th boards exams were cancelled, I repeat “cancelled” Was that fair enough with the Students? In my perspective it’ll be dead hectic for them to go through the higher concepts without knowing the basics. I completely agree that the situation is critical and decision is taken keeping our safety first, but there would be much better options rather than cancelling the examinations.
We live in an age of information technology. The main challenge face by students is not the availability of knowledge but the abundance of knowledge. Therefore, the most important skill required is not to memorise the answers but to summarise the answers to each question and use them in the way we want. The tests should not ask questions that can be taken from books and various sources of knowledge. The questions should be set to understand interpretation, analysis, critique, creativity and problem-solving ability. It is important to make sure that the answers to such questions are not available in different sources. Only then will teachers be able to confirm the utility of their question. At the same time, when evaluating such questions, teachers need to relate to students in a way that identifies their spontaneous writing style.
The work of learning must transformed to a variety of mental activities such as discovery, analysis, assessment and evaluation of information. The time has come for the educational authorities to start working on reconstructing the syllabus and the evaluation process by prioritising the skill and the quality knowledge gained by the students.