Nagaland COVID-19: A year since lockdown

Morung File Photo
Morung File Photo

Educators and students adapting to change

Kanili Kiho
Dimapur | March 27

Sharing fresh perspectives, educators and teachers reflected on their experiences during the past one year of COVID-19 induced lockdown.

Speaking to The Morung Express, Assistant Professor Dr Pfokrelo Kapesa said the transition from physical classroom to virtual classroom was a big challenge to teachers and students alike. “It is heartening to see schools/colleges and universities working ceaselessly to ensure that no student is left behind,” she added.

Considering the rules bent and contact hours made limitless, she said that all these shows how much and more human beings can work together. “These are things that I believe we can continue to pursue even in the future.”

Dr Kapesa, however, regretted that in all these transitions and discourse, the “well-being of the teachers was consistently missing.”

One of the most obvious symptoms, she saw was the resort to cut pay in many institutions despite the rising pressure with the changing situation. “As much as we need to cater to the needs of the students, I believe it is equally important to create a positive sense of belonging for the teachers too,” she maintained.

“This pandemic has been an extraordinary time for everyone where we had to adapt with the new system,” shared Obangtila Jamir, a post-graduate teacher at Hope Academy, Dimapur.

As a teacher, she admitted it was not easy, adding that “yet the students’ willingness to learn despite the circumstances inspired me to overcome various challenges.”

Her key take away from the crisis is that regular communication with the students builds a trusting relationship which amplifies the teaching and learning process.

“Being compassionate, empathetic towards the children and knowing their individual differences are also very important. This pandemic has taught me to be more patient, flexible and resilient,” Jamir added.

With the world limping back to ‘new normalcy’, she hoped that the school administrators and teachers will work together to help the children build up what “they have gained and gain back what they have lost.”

Dr Visakhonu Hibo, Principal of Japfü Christian College, Kohima said that while learning wasn’t normal for the past year, on the whole, “we have been able to pull through.”

“I think both the students and the teachers were able to frog jump to technology, and that is a positive outcome in itself,” she added.

General Secretary of All Nagaland Private Schools Association (ANPSA) Kiphire Unit, Lipi shared that the past year has been an uphill task, especially for teachers and the students living on the outskirts of the State. Adding to the woes of poor internet connectivity, the economic and educational disparities and technological illiteracy made it more challenging, he added.

However, with schools reopening this year, he expressed optimism that the students would be back on track.

Through this crisis, he shared the learning that one needs to be prepared for any eventuality, to be mentally strong and stay positive. “We should be able to adapt with change and come out of our traditional boxes,” he added.