Under the webinar series “Multiple Dimensions of COVID-19”, School of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted the first webinar titled “Pandemic Impact on Education: Access, Quality, and Equity” on 25th July 2020. Dr. P A. Mathew, Chairman, Grace International Academy, Dr. Xavier VK, Professor of Economics, Jain (Deemed-to-be University), Dr. Rekha Jaganath, Former Member, State Planning Board, Karnataka and Dr. Augustine George, Principal, Kristu Jayanti College (Autonomous) were the speakers for the event. Ms.Rohini Yekbote and Mr.Vengala Bhaanu Teja were the student anchors for the webinar.
The theme of the webinar:
The disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic has been unparalleled in our lifetime. The loss of lives and livelihood has made a huge dent to the whole world and particularly, the marginalized, migrants, and micro and mini enterprises. Due to this, loss of income, poverty, and hunger will accentuate. Being uncertain about the shape of economic and recovery – U or L shape, our hands are crossed against a vaccine. The generations will learn from the history and production of original literature about this pandemic is a noble duty of academicians. The philosophy of history of events will make new history and design a new destiny - to make or mar ourselves.
Mr.Vengala Bhaanu Teja concentrated on the facts of Gross Enrollment Ratios around the world and how India needed a push. According to him, the education sector has felt a negative linkage effect that is seeing a down surge now, during the pandemic. He also recommended adherence to the Sustainable Development Goal no 4, which is the quality of education and the recommendations of national reports.
Ms. Rohini presented on the structural changes that are needed for transforming the traditional education system into a digital online platform, the pros, and cons of the traditional education system, the number of glitches in online education such as unaffordable internet facilities.
Dr. Xavier VK spoke on the pandemic impact on higher education access. He also highlighted the demographic profile of India, the total number of Government and Private Universities, the aided and unaided colleges in India. He shed light on the lack of the number of educational institutions as compared to that of the population of India. According to the MHRD, NSS, Census data, and SES data, GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio) has risen from 0.7 percent in 1950-51 to 26.3 percent in 2018-19 and it is projected to be approximately 30 percent in 2020- 21. Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) is a significant indicator of the number of persons enrolled out of the total population between the ages 18-23. He addressed the problems of duality in higher education in developing countries, where there is a regional imbalance and a low GER. Dr. Xavier concluded his presentation by stating the strategies which included an encouraging partnership with foreign universities, promoting high-quality private institutions, and improving access to education through distance and online mode of learning.
Dr. Mathew presented on the topic ‘Turmoil and Transition in Higher Education during the Pandemic’. He spoke about the difference between equity and equality and also on the Indian education system and society in the 21st century. While talking about the impact of Covid-19 on higher education, he also addressed issues such as the digital divide during the Pandemic which creates a divide in the gender gap, Dalit enrolment in higher education, etc. He provided perspicuous explanations on the impact of a pandemic on access to and quality of higher education in India.
Dr. Rekha Jagannath elucidated on the impact of the pandemic on the quality of education by listing the challenges such as complete conquest of the education system by the IT sector, issues like security, authentication, and verification of AI and machine learning. She spoke about the importance of delivering excellent quality education which contains macro and micro aims.
Dr. Augustine George spoke about the quality of education during the pandemic and how the pandemic affects the future of education. He addressed the issues arising due to the excessive use of electronics for online education, which in turn affects the mental health of the people, especially the students. He said that the quality of higher education is the prime focus of higher education and we cannot build a sustainable and prosperous nation without human resource development which mainly depends on the vitality of higher education and skill-based activities.