----Message from the Principal----
"A new era has begun with many challenges and opportunities"
“Corona Virus, Covid-19 Pandemic, Covaxin and Covishield vaccine” were the most buzzing words during the year 2020 and still it is reverberating. Last year, almost the entire World was under the trapping of the Pandemic caused by the flue like deadly COVID-19 virus. This super-spreader Corona virus has originated from Wuhan, China and spreads the disease very quickly to Italy then to Europe and finally paralyzed most of the human population globally. It has almost tranquilized the lifelines of everything - from the businesses, the rail, road, air and water traffic, functioning of government departments and to social organizations etc. etc. Hospitals were overloaded with Corona Virus affected patients. Governments had to establish special Covid Care Centres at different locations in the Country to mitigate the never imagined crisis. The Academic Institutions were shutting down for months. Governments of various countries had imposed curfews, declared months long lockdowns and issued SOPs restricting people’s movements from regular day-to-day activities to avoid spreading of the disease. Even people themselves maintained self-restrictions avoiding physical contacts with others. People used to wear face masks accompanied by hand sanitizers to keep away from Covid-19 virus. The second wave of Pandemic in 2021 again shocked the world. Our country witnessed loss of thousands of lives during these periods. Mumbai was the worst affected city. Delhi Government had declared total lockdown for months this year in till July 2021. In Assam too, immediately after the completion of Assam Assembly Election in April 2021, the pandemic resurged and many known and unknown faces have passed to the heavenly adobe.
As a result of Covid-19 Pandemic, now-a-days, everything has gradually been transformed. The Government imposed several restrictions on physical activities, various companies had to change their work culture from regular on-site jobs to online mode, e-commerce, e-learning platforms emerged exponentially. “Work from home” work culture started. Academic transactions continued through online mode and many e-learning businesses have surfaced. Mobile companies sold many handsets for the sake of online activities in business or education. During the period of lockdown, all academic transactions are being continued through online mode only.
At Jagiroad College, we have developed our own online platform for all the Students and Teachers well ahead of the beginning of the Pandemic. And through our online digital platform – www.jagiroadcollegelive.co.in, students are being connected by the teachers and management through their smart phones using their own login ids. In this regard, we must appreciate our Faculties and Students for their honest efforts in continuing their academic activities through online mode in-spite of many difficulties. Few challenges, we are facing, while transacting academic activities during the period are as follows: (i) non-availability of smart phones to a large section of the students, (ii) no internet access or poor internet connectivity in some areas, (iii) unfriendliness to smart systems of the students in some cases.
Against all odds, the opportunities we have still been availing are: (i) availability of online platforms, (ii) learning opportunities to handle smart systems, (iii) learning opportunities to access online study materials by searching available digital databases. (iv) learning opportunities on how to conduct an online meeting through Google Meet, Zoom and other platforms, (v) content creations by the faculties for online learning. Above all, the most encouraging fact is that of surfacing of a skilled and techno-savvy generation to handle the smart systems, be it from among the givers or from the takers group.
Although pandemic situation is gradually improving in the Country from August this year but still it is not normal like before. If this situation prevails in the coming days, then we might adopt a blended teaching-learning system through both online and offline modes in regards to academic transactions. Thus, knowingly or unknowingly, we have been entering into a new era. So, we can say that a new era has begun with many challenges and opportunities.
This year, due to recurrence of Covid-19 Pandemic, final examinations for the students of Class X and Class XII were not held. The Government of Assam (GoA) has constituted two high-power committees - one for SEBA and the other for AHSEC and as per these two committee’s decisions, HSLC and HS students were evaluated and results declared based on specially formulated marking systems. As a result, pass percentages crossed beyond 95%, and resulted an unexpected situation. Admission seekers into higher classes have submitted their online admission forms and numbers crossed beyond the institutional seat capacities. In our college database, total numbers of registered students increased three to four folds than our seat capacities of different classes. Preparation of merit lists for different classes are big challenges for the admission committee. Further, GoA has taken decision to increase 25% of institutional existing seating capacities and if required all institutions are asked to introduce shifts. It is really difficult to manage the enhanced students load with limited infrastructure, vacancies in regular Teaching posts and very nominal remuneration to ah-doc Teaching and non-Teaching staff. The crisis is not only for GoA and for the Institutions, but it is a social and very sensitive issue. We have to deal with utmost care and need to accommodate the dreams of higher education aspirants as far as feasible. This is another big challenge surfacing this year due to Pandemic.
Meanwhile, from the next academic session 2022-23, New Education Policy-2020 is going to be implemented in our State along with the country and the GoA has already been gearing up for the same. So, in the light of NEP-2020, this year’s overcrowding of admission seekers will be a boon for enhancement of gross enrolment ratios (GERs). But for this, many new initiatives need to be taken from GoA’s part, particularly creation of additional infrastructure, additional manpower etc. and we all are eagerly waiting for that.
In the meantime, as a recent development, from the second half of August-2021, the Pandemic situation is gradually been improving. Numbers of vaccinated people are growing and lockdown and curfew have been relaxing in phased manner. As per GoA’s decision, educational institutions in the state will be re-opened from September, initially for final year students. If utmost care will not be taken then there may be possibility of a third wave of Pandemic. Everything depends upon how the academic communities will behave. So, we need to be cautious about it. Wearing of face mask, sensitization can be managed but maintaining of social distance is the greatest challenge. Offline classes by maintaining social distance with limited manpower and infrastructure is really a worring situation. To avoid arising of any further difficult situations, vaccine is the only option for one and all. So, my message to one and all is that - “be vaccinated be safe, use face mask and maintain social distances; take self care as well as care others too”.
Dr. B. C. Neog
Principal, Jagiroad College,