Gh Nabi Ganie

Covid-19 puts a question mark on schooling

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Education has at least three dimensions - ontological, epistemological and axiological and the last one is never possible without school society.

Covid-19, the infectious disease, has spread its tentacles all over the world. In December 2019, it originated from the Chinese city of Wuhan and spread at an alarming speed far and wide affecting not only the physical health of the people but also damaging the psychological well being of the people world over.

Nine months on, still there is no efficacious drug that would cure it and nor there is any vaccine that could prevent its spread. The deadly virus has brought down the medical science and the technological bravado to its knees. Attempts are on; researches are going on in full swing but the humanity is yet to find a befitting answer to the question C.

In absence of any cure or vaccine, we are left with just a set of precautions to save ourselves and to scuttle the spread of the virus that cares nothing about regions, races, colours, religions or social and economical status.

So, what we are supposed to do? Just follow the precautions with capital P. Use face masks, go for frequent hand senitization, maintain social distancing; no handshakes and embracing lest you should hand over the deadly virus to others or get it from them. The virus does not fly, it flows.

Prevention is the best substitute for cure. Distance yourself from the next mouth neighbor or he may spit the virus at you. Be careful about your oral and nasal cavity.

Jumbling, mingling and meeting should be avoided at any cost. Embracing is banned. States and governments have come with a heavy hand to impose the said measures. People are bound to live in isolation.  Social distancing and mouth masking has its own merits. You are less likely to talk much because words and virus may go together. You get a lot of time to keep aloof and a golden opportunity to meditate and self introspect because there is none other to disturb you. Lesser you speak the lesser you have to regret. More you talk more you loose the weight. Hazrat Omer (RA) once said ‘I have never regretted my silence but I have many times regretted my speech.’ Silence is a mental tonic.

One dangerous demerit of social distancing is that the teachers, the most talkative genre of our society, are isolated. They are not in a position to transmit education to people. They have lost contact with the next generation. Of course students can use internet facility but that will be self education and that will not suffice because rectification and ratification are essentials for the refinement of human behavior. A hen sits on eggs for 21 days to hatch them and share the warmth of its blossom to bring out life out of the white and yellow material. Same is the case with teacher student relationship. The school and the teachers create an environment where the egg (pupils) grow wings so that they can fly.

The pandemic has hit the education the most because you can’t assemble which is conspicuous feature of a school. Literacy is possible in isolation but education is possible in a fellowship where measuring rods in the form of fellows are available for checking and balancing because you describe things in comparison to something else. That is why an adjective has degrees. Good is not sufficient but it is better that satisfies. Education has at least three dimensions which are – ontological, epistemological and axiological. And the last one is never possible without school society. Axiological or ethical education is less hereditary but more environmental in nature. It is the school where different value systems come into contact and they are subject to correction or direction. A harmonious code of conduct comes into existence and the firm foundation of an egalitarian society is laid. On the other hand people follow the rules that suit them. This is dangerous for a civilization.

Family is the first school for a child and the mother being the most important member and the nearest relative of the child. She must be educated so that she serves food, care, love and education simultaneously. There are mothers who are not educated. They of course love their offspring wildly but they are unable to impart the values. The school fills in that gap. In the present situation the school is locked down and who will play a mother substitute. And in absence of a mother substitute our future generation is in a state of moral confusion.

– The author is a lecturer in education department.

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