Winners of Covid-19 mega plan

Aug 1, 2023

It is human nature to forget and forgive. In many cases, it is correct. Covid-19 is now an old story for people to remember. Yet, no one can ignore its adverse impact on the public and the environment. A Radical change in lifestyle and behavioural changes among children are the viral legacies of the pandemic.

Education is a social necessity, one of the civilisational features of human beings. Modern education in India opened the way for the commercialisation of education. A social necessity becomes a subject of business which thrives on one of the unavoidable human necessities. Children unknowingly become the targets of this business.

“Smart phone addiction is no less than drug addiction”

With “online classes” Covid-19 dismantled the edifice of education built over centuries. Now virtual schooling is a sophisticated version but with a departure from all value systems. Schools ran online classes in an organised manner, which helped them save cost on power, classroom maintenance and staff cost. Governments supported the system.

New schooling confused many parents who couldn’t adjust to the new ways of educating their children. Online classes required parents to buy mobile phones for their children, which the law disallowed until then. Many Indian households couldn’t afford a cell phone for their children with an internet connection, especially during the lockdown period. Online classes brought them considerable financial strains at the time many were facing hardships to meet both ends. 

Children were happy with the one-denied device. They used the opportunity to break into several safe and unsafe apps and sites at a vulnerable age. Every child attended virtual classes while being inside the blanket! They slipped out of their routine of brushing and bathing before attending school. Covid-19 opened a world where life is impossible without cellphones, internet connection and online video apps. That also proved how children could attend school without getting up from their beds. Continuous electricity supply, high-speed internet and high-quality mobile signals were necessary. More parents got their children ready to become customers of many other businesses. Over two years of online classes gave the children incurable problems, psychiatric defections and inexplicable behavioural traumas.

Virtual classes didn’t benefit children but inexplicably spoiled them. The hunters never consider the prey’s feelings. Online classes and uncontrolled use of cell phones spoiled the children for the rest of their life. The already mentally-shattered parents watched their children’s intellectual deterioration helplessly while facing a terrific pandemic rendered economic woe. Steep deterioration in competitiveness drops them out of the race in the job market. Its long and short-term impacts could be immeasurably huge. We have thrown the children as a customer pack into the education business.

Children should have never touched a mobile phone, especially when schools are indefinitely closed. Children’s use of phones when schools are closed makes them addicted, no less than drug addiction. When parents were working from home, they could not monitor their children at home. While the media was busy counting the pandemic tolls, movement of ambulances, piling up bodies in morgues and burial grounds, vaccine progresses, police lathi-charges, etc. the imploding future tragedy of children misusing phones and unhealthy practices of online classes, even for primary students, never appeared in any media space. The multidimensional havoc that the pandemic created threw up plenty of materials which could have filled many books. The strategic planners of Covid-19 must be smiling now.

The habits that the pandemic created have become integral parts of our life. Several institutions still offer online classes. Online training, online voting, online Annual General Meetings of companies, online job interview, online cooking guidance, etc constitute only a small portion of the boundless online universe. Online shopping is a part of urban and rural life. A teacher can resort to online when he fails to complete the portion within the semester. Faculties share notes through mobile phones. Kids also follow this method to take the support of their classmates. A cell phone with an internet connection is as necessary as water for everyone from kids or oldies, UNESCO advised a ban on mobile phones for children. It found excessive use of mobile phones spoiling students and affecting their mental health. The research prompted recommendations of UNESCO also covered AI’s adverse effects on children and their education. UNESCO was too late.

The actual meaning of education has gone off with teachers’ reduced intervention. AI with sophisticated search engines like ChatGPT, Bard, Bing, etc. throws up ready-made answers. Smart new-generation teachers also depend on artificial intelligence to save their time and fill their knowledge gap. Poor knowledge of the subject they handle is not an issue for them since they get what they want in capsule forms. 

India is yet to find solutions to the adverse online impact. Children still carry the baggage, which unfortunately looks to be pleasant. European countries have already banned mobile phones in schools, though it is too late. Our inability to live without mobile phones and online facilities will make us the generation who threw our angels to greedy tech giants. We are killing the talents, outspokenness and all physical and mental abilities of the next generations. Brainchildren of Covid-19 are winners and our children are losers.