Academia in Lockdown

Education, introduced as an idea to 'impart wisdom', 'empower people', 'uplift beings' and ' strengthen the country' socially as well as economically.

But it is reduced to a mere business now to satisfy one's personal desires and aspirations. And the focus is on making one ' literate ' not ' educated '. Selling and buying of degrees in numerous private institutions is a common sight these days. And as per Unified District Information System of Education (UDISE), 2016-17 (Provisional), there are 92,275 single-teacher Government schools at both elementary level and secondary level, we can't even complain.

We're a country where social and economic disparities run deeper than the roots of the Banyan tree. And education instead of correcting it contributes to the cause. Pathbreaking ' Right to Education' Act 2009 gifts children the legal right to elementary education. But it fails to give equal rights to all children. With the currently hit pandemic, crippling economy, religious and political tensions, earthquakes and locusts attacks knocking doors now and then we are living in the new age of anxiety. Education too received its blow with most of the schools and colleges being shut down on March 16' 2020 to curb the infection and more than 32 crore students have been affected by it. But, 'utmost gratitude' to the technological advancements, some could continue distant learning through various e-learning platforms, video-conferencing and many more. But what about those who don't have internet access or mobile phones, tablets, and laptops or what about those who don't even have an uninterrupted supply of electricity. (According to 2018 official data, only 1,417 of India’s 18,452 villages, or 7.3% of the total, have 100% household connectivity, and about 31 million homes are still in the dark, source: So how privileged one should be to receive basic education? Haven't we failed them? And is our education system offering an education in failure, thus bringing the society down?

Not only schools, the universities and colleges too started online classes. And in one of the most prestigious universities of our country Delhi university, more than 50% couldn't even join the online classes and the university came up with a new Open Text Book online examination which created confusion and tension among the students. It is a mere mockery and a blow to the disadvantaged. The server faces overloading during admissions, results and even during online form submission how will it even manage an exam on such a level. And what about the students with technological difficulties, poor internet connection, lack of study material and those who are differently-abled. Also, we can't forget Kashmiri students whose Internet goes on and off any minute. Didn't the management think once given the socio-economic diversity in the university? It is social injustice and the cries of #DUAgainstOnlineExamination fall on deaf ears. (A staggering 85% students of DU expressed their unwillingness to appear in the online examination conducted by the Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA), the survey gathered responses from over 51,000 students studying at the university at both undergraduate and postgraduate level Source:

Administration's plans and strategies are questionable, do they really feel all students are equally privileged to have an uninterrupted internet connection day in and out, physically suitable condition at home during this pandemic to write exams and also a stable frame of mind.

"Things fall apart,

Centre cannot hold."

~ Y.B. Yeats


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