Editorial | A child play: Education department

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A six-year-old girl’s video went viral sometime back in which she sought changes in the timing of online classes. The video was a display of innocence and she attracted the attention of common people and of those in positions of power. Orders were issued and a new policy for online classes was drafted on notice of a few days. The video and the new policy that followed, however, also highlight a deep administrative mess.

Online classes have been a reality of pandemic days, making them at least one year old. The fact that the education department had not adopted a scientific approach to putting such a policy for a year is evidence of laziness, or incompetence, or, worst, both. It shouldn’t have waited for a kid’s video to do a much-needed policy revamp.

Online classes are a compulsion dawned by the pandemic and also a health hazard. The increased screen time on mobile phones is bad for students and yet the education department had no idea about it, and even if it had, it did nothing to ease the hazards. The education department needs to have more engagement with teachers, students and their parents and actually work on that feedback. This is how the modern world behaves. Bureaucratic arrogance of know-it-all doesn’t work in this fast evolving world.

The education department also owes an explanation into another video; of a young man who committed suicide for sake of his teacher father whose salary was withheld for two years. In any civilized part of the world, that suicide would have led to the filing of a criminal case and resignations; heads would have rolled. The education department should do a quick assessment of its working model. That it did nothing for a year and was then forced to do the policy revision by a six-year-old girl means it needs a lot of soul-searching.

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