W Power 2024

Challenges before the Youth in Neo-Normal

Dr. Pradip Kumar Das, Professor, MBBS, DTM& H, Ph.D., MBA, D.Lit. President of Indian Medical Association, Serampore Branch, Council Member of London Press Journal, IQAS Member of Serampore College and University

Published: Dec 17, 2021 11:01:02 AM IST
Updated: Dec 17, 2021 11:48:29 AM IST

Challenges before the Youth in Neo-NormalNovel coronavirus infection leading to pandemic situation reigned throughout the world for the last 2 years. Our country was also badly affected in respect of economy, education, employment, games, culture and entertainment. Almost for the last 2 years all the educational institutions including Schools, Colleges and Universities remain closed not to spread the covid infections among the students. Online education was invoked but its facilities remain restricted to certain portion due to non availability of infrastructural and technical appliances. This creates a challenge to the economically poor burden students. Challenge is thrown not only towards the students but also to the underprivileged guardians and school authorities to continue the online classes in the backdrop of covid pandemic situations by providing technical and infrastructural facilities to them.

After decaying the 2nd wave of covid infections in the neo-normal period, State Govt. gradually uplifted the barriers imposed upon the people leading to normalization of transport, opening of doors and windows of  Schools, Colleges and Universities for the higher group of students, although most of them are not covered with covid protective vaccines but to follow strictly the protective measures like wearing cotton or surgical face mask, maintaining 2 gauge physical distance from each other, repeated hand washing either with liquid soap or alcohol based sanitizing agents and off-course if opportunities come vaccinate with two doses at the earliest with no hesitation.

This is a challenging task to us as child of 0-18 years age are still not covered with covid protective vaccines as they consist of 13% of total 130 crore population of India. This is challenging in this sense that although they are kept home captive but their other inmates who are going outside for many purposes like education, services or business they can be asymptomatic carrier of covid infections as they are protected with two doses of vaccine, naturally due to their raised immune status, they might be without any symptoms but they can transmit the infections to the captive children and adolescents who are unprotective with vaccines as was shown in 2nd wave of covid infections in this country, the  Delta strain as the  concerned strain for covid infection as declared by WHO and it raised a high concern not only to this country but also to the whole world for its high infectivity and positivity rate. It also created a great concern to our health system initially showing lack of adequate beds and quality of oxygen cylinders and other necessary equipments. But with taking stringent steps at the crucial period by our health authorities the stringent challenges were readily overcome and infectivity and positivity case rates are reduced gradually.

In the meantime, speedy vaccination process leads to coverage of 125 crore of people out of which 85 per cent are covered with first dose and 50 per cent are covered with second doses. Now the great challenge is coverage of as much as people with 2 doses of vaccine. Our target is at least coverage of 100 crore of people with 2 doses of vaccine as there is knocking at the doors with 3rd wave of covid infection as reflected in the news channel and printed newspapers with highly mutated strain of covid virus named as Omicron- the most potent agent for infections even on those who completed two doses of vaccine. It is challenging as it will be faced by both vaccinated and unvaccinated people particularly by the children and adolescents who are still unprotected and remain home captive. Regarding education, this is a very challenging task to the teachers, students and guardians. Some classes are going on with online, some are offline. So hybrid teaching that is online and offline teaching will have to be continued for a long time. Teaching materials will have to be provided to the students. Teachers have to be monitored the merits of each students and judgment will be given impartially so that meritorious students cannot be affected. Challenge will be faced by College authority for maintaining room sanitization, providing ample scope for lighting and ventilation for rooms for taking classes and providing masks and other protective weapons against the invasion of coronavirus to the students, teachers and collage staff. Moreover, professors in the class rooms while delivering lectures towards the students have to wear face mask even those who are sufferers of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or Cardiac diseases. They should be provided rooms in the ground floor with adequate light and ventilation as they cannot ride upstairs due to their incapable lung and heart function.

This is a challenging task no-doubt of it towards the college authority. In the ensuing 3rd wave invasion of coronavirus particularly the Omicron, the most virulent strain of concern as declared by WHO in the perspective of its invasion in South Africa, America, Europe, Israil and in India the most challenging task is to face it with courage, determination, scientific approach with bold steps for controlling it  in the neo-normal period. Most challenging task before the youth is continuation of learning process. Previously all the students were habituated with offline learning where they gather in a classroom and listen lectures directly from their teachers. Learning process was a lecture, audio-visual slide shows, interactions between teacher and students, feedback from students and question-answer sessions, practical teaching in laboratories. With this one to one interview, teachers and other students can get the opportunity for enrichment of knowledge, changing attitudes and practices. But due to novel corona pandemic reigned throughout the world for the last 2 years forced the educationists to change their previous process of learning.

As the Schools, Colleges and Universities remained closed for preventing the infections among the student community, there was no other alternative but to invoke the learning by online procedure for the good sake of student community in the form of learning from home just like work from home for the servicemen. This learning can by now hybrid learning i.e. online and offline learning. Higher students of schools are now allowed to attend their classes 5 days in a week in divided pattern so to avoid large gatherings and to maintain safe physical distance. Lectures, audio -visual slides and lab practical classes can be done in the threatening moment of rising 3rd wave transmission. Teachers can provide teaching materials to those students who are dropped in the periodical offline classes for learning stayed at home and after certain period they will be requested to attend their offline classes for review of their learning by one to one discussion with the respective teacher. This is designated as Fliff Class Role models. This type of learning forced the teachers to overload their burden but in this pandemic situation there is no other alternative to accept this overload burden by the teachers for the interest of the student community as well as for the acceleration of the current education system. This model can also be practiced in case of college and university teachers. This is a challenge no-doubt of it but it should be welcome by the teacher’s community. They should keep in mind that during this period many students are not only relactant of their online classes but due to poor economy and poverty created by losing jobs of their family heads, they are compelled to involve themselves to any type of cheap services to keep the existence of their family members. Although they are exploited but there is no choice to make their survival. So when offline classes are now started, there is huge dropout of students in their respective classes as because they are involved in their cheap services. This is a challenge not only to the respective families but also to the respective schools and colleges also to revoke their position in student community. But this challenge should be solved with stern effort. This cannot be said by washing our hands that it is the duty of their families and teacher community. It is the duty of all of us and it can be solved with a look on humanitarian ground by the Govt., public sector, Teacher community and family otherwise one day we will see country is full of unemployed, unskilled persons who will be our great burden to our society.

Another challenge is faced by the technical students like medical, engineering and vocational trainees. Almost for the last 2 years, technical students were deprived of their practical classes due to suspension of the classes in the backdrop of corona pandemic. So huge gap was created in their practical learning. Practically for the last 2 years they were promoted in their upper classes without practical learning. Thus lacunae can be fulfilled by stressing more practical classes during the offline period and theoretical classes in the online period. This creates more burdens to both the teachers and students but this challenge should be accepted by both of them in the pursuit of maintaining high standard technical education so that our society cannot be deprived of high quality of doctors, engineers and technical personnel.

The current corona pandemic creates another threat to unemployment not only to our country but also to globally. Unemployment is created in Govt. sectors as well as more in public sectors. This is a vicious cycle and large effect in daily laborers, factory laborers, and servicemen, small and middle businessmen and in every professional job. So after completion of education youths find no hope to involve themselves into any jobs creating tension, anxiety, depression to their minds. This challenge should be taken by our policy makers and responsible persons attached to different positions of our Govt. and public sectors. They should frame a future sustainable designed plans and projects for the sake of youth, backward community and provide empowerment to the youth women.

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