Published: 16th September 2020
As schools reopen, reconnect with kids instead of focusing just on the curriculum: Dr Rukmini Banerji, CEO, Pratham
The virtual conference on What Will Education Look Like in a Post-Pandemic World? brought together key experts from across the globe to share their thoughts on post-pandemic education
As we move closer to the reopening of schools across the globe, the most important thing to do once children get back is to measure their progress. To reconnect with them as individuals and for the institutions to have clear goals in terms of what needs to be done after the academics begin in full swing, said Dr Rukmini Banerji, CEO, Pratham Education Foundation while speaking at a global virtual conference on Wednesday.
"In the post-pandemic world when schools open up again, the agenda for the first 100 days should be to reconnect with the children as they are coming from different situations, have varied contexts and to find out what problems they are facing on an individual level. The schools shouldn't think about what hasn't been done in the past few months due to the lockdown and the crisis but to look towards the future and decide on what needs to be done. It is the time for a huge catch-up that needs to be done with the kids instead of being in a hurry to finish everything in the curriculum," said Dr Banerji while speaking at the Yidan Prize Asia-Pacific Annual Conference, in partnership with the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS).
The virtual conference on What will education look like in a post-pandemic world? brought together key experts from governments, universities, corporations and philanthropic foundations to share insights on the education sector and trends in the post-COVID-19 world. Dr Banerji, who is a global figure in education and a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University added that in the Indian context, primary schools should focus on the progress of the students when they first come back to school after what could be the longest academic break in our history. "My concern is whether we were able to learn fast enough from the things happening around us since the pandemic hit. We shouldn't be looking back at March and think about what could have happened. Rather we should move forward with our newly acquired skills and that would be a great investment towards education," she added.
The panel that Dr Banerji was a part of also included two others — Chen Shujun, Vice President of Tencent Education and General Manager of Online Education Department (China) and Dr Milwida 'Nene' Guevara, CEO, Synergeia Foundation (Philippines). Adding to what schools should focus on post-pandemic, Dr Guevara said: "We should focus on children instead of the subject matter of the curriculum. We should guide them to enhance their basic skills and values. We in the Philippines also want to mentor teachers in order to strengthen communication and creativity once they come back after this long break due to the COVID-19 crisis."