Vijay Garg

Vijay Garg

Vijay Garg is a regular contributor of Imphal Times, mostly related with Education. Vijay is a resident of Street Kour Chand MHR Malout-152107 Distt Sri Muktsar sahib Punjab. Vijay Garg, Ex.PES-1 is a retired Principal from Government Girls Sen Sec school Mandi Harji Ram Malout -152106 Punjab. He is also the author of Quantitative Aptitude, NTSE , NMMS, Mathematics of XII, ICSE numerical physics and chemistry many more books.

As schools in India switched to an online mode, the learning experience has taken a new form - it’s now all study and no play.
The initial lure of freedom to do anything while attending classes from the comfort of home has faded and a “Zoom Fatigue” has set in.
Zoom classes are exhausting - that’s one thing school students across the nation will collectively agree on! Necessary as they may be in the times of the pandemic, staring at the computer screen continuously for 5-6 hours a day while plowing through the syllabus, is no fun, to say the least. As schools in India switched to an online mode , the learning experience has taken a new form - it’s now all study and no play. While kids can log in to their classes from home, unfortunately, they can’t bring the playground home.
In a race to make up for the learning time lost due to the lockdown, schools have made playtime an expendable diversion - but is play just a pastime?
Zooming into a Mental Health crisis
Playing has immense benefits on the cognitive development of children. Remote learning, however, is anything but playful! The initial lure of freedom to do anything while attending classes from the comfort of home has faded and a “Zoom Fatigue” has set in.
After strenuous school classes, there are online tuitions and then online hobby classes. Kids seldom have a chance to get off their chair; and as parents worry about keeping their kids safe during this pandemic, going out to play with friends is also discouraged.
Playtime has now become a distant memory - both online and offline; and the effects are showing. According to a review of over 80 different studies, social distancing and school closure have increased mental health problems in children and adolescents. Kids are reporting higher levels of boredom, and frustration.
The isolation from their peers, teachers, extended families, and community networks is creating a negative psychological outcome for them.
Another study says children feel unmotivated and miss their friends. They are skipping assignments, surfing the internet during classes, and simply not paying attention.
A case for playful learning
The missing ingredients? Peer interactions and a sense of belonging. Kids learn as much from their friends and environment, as they do from their teachers. The in-person connections that they make during lunch breaks, at the playground, or after school with their classmates are a critical part of their development.
Shifting the studies to Zoom cannot replace this holistic experience of school. So while scientists work on a vaccine that will make the world a safer place again, what can the educators do to ensure children get to enjoy wholesome learning?
We need to let go of rote learning and focus on developing deeper knowledge by gamifying concepts and role-playing different subjects. After all, you can’t become a baker by reading cookbooks alone; you’ll need to burn a few cakes (and eat them too) to master your craft.
Similarly, when children learn by doing instead of reading, they remain deeply engaged and buzzing with curiosity. It also builds their higher-order thinking skills - which include everything from imagination, communication, and teamwork to softer personality aspects like self-awareness and sense of purpose.
Another important aspect of the play is that it brings peers together, and gives children a sense of belonging. While nothing can replace face-to-face human interactions, making learning enjoyable and playful can be a crucial link to solving the growing mental health issues faced by students.

Sunday, 02 May 2021 17:36

Is the future of education online?

The purpose of education has always been to enlighten, mould, and stimulate young minds. And to that respect, the dynamism of a physical classroom, where the transfer of knowledge from tutor to students occurs, cannot be undermined.
We have been through a year that has put us all to the test, emotionally, mentally and physically. The Coronavirus pandemic forced us to hit the reset button on many aspects of life as we knew it - travel, business, social interaction, and of course, education.
While we all have taken our learnings from it, for the education sector, it has added a new layer to the existing system which, when channelled correctly, can be a game-changing experience to the way students access education, the way students harness opportunity. But are educational institutions up for the challenge?
The purpose of education has always been to enlighten, mould and stimulate young minds. And to that respect, the dynamism of a physical classroom, where the transfer of knowledge from tutor to student occurs, cannot be undermined.
Covid-19: Online learning
I am a big believer of the Socratic Method that involves dialogue-based interactions and question-based solutions - all achieved best in a physical classroom setting where there is more fluidity to deliberating, discussing and debating topics than in an on-screen environment.
But when the pandemic hit and the world went indoors, we did what we could do best with the tools in hand. And what tools they turned out to be! Our technology-enabled homes got enabled. Our connectivity (and patience) were tested, but in the end, so was our ability to learn, to absorb and participate in a new setting.
Bedrooms converted into classrooms, screens into blackboards, keypads into pens and subjects into modules. But teachers remained teaching and students remained to learn. And they could be anywhere, plugging into the knowledge they seek.
Focus on innovation
we quickly realised that it was not just about changing the mode of delivery of education, but about maintaining or enhancing the quality of our delivery. We realised that the move from face-to-face to online represented a significant difference in the base assumptions about how we teach and how students learn.
This realisation led us to diligently think about how we can build capacity amongst our faculty so that they are effective in teaching online, how we can use this mode to make learning more student-centred, how we can help our students from being passive listeners to active learners.
We decided that rather than emphasising the technology, we must focus on innovation so that our faculty can venture into trying new methods, encourage the faculty to evolve in this new role and share their learnings with their peers.
The truth is, we have all witnessed education as a path so far, one that is conscientiously embarked on until the path ‘allows’ us to pursue a different school or college to specialize in a particular area of interest. What if we have a wider path for our students? What if a child living in any part of the country can access a curriculum or be part of an institution in a different city, country or continent? Will they be poorer or richer for it?
The answers remain to be seen, but the education sector must do what it can to ensure ‘learning’ is at the heart of what we offer, not logistics.

Thursday, 29 April 2021 18:43

Career opportunities in Foreign Languages

Learning a foreign language is increasing seen as a great way to build a career as well as enhance employment opportunity especially in sectors like BPO and multinational companie
 
Foreign Language
There are various options to learn foreign languages. Whereas several students start learning a foreign language in their schools, numerous others opt the course after their 10+2 and go for graduation courses that are offered by various institutes, colleges and universities. Then there are some certificate courses and diploma courses which take less time and duration and are available in a condensed form – candidates who have done 10+2 are eligible for such courses. Those who are interested in higher education in foreign languages can opt for post-graduation and PhD which are being offered at select universities in India.
 
Language skills are like sport skills wherein early starters are at an advantage. Therefore, it is advisable to make an early beginning as love for a foreign language cannot be developed; it has to be felt from within. Some public schools in India have foreign languages in their curriculum. Home tuition is ideal for those who have passion to learn foreign languages. Moreover, in order to attain proficiency in language skills, practice is key. Therefore, it helps tremendously if the learner is able to build a group wherein they converse in the concerned.
 
If you have a deep interest in knowing the way of life, language and culture of other people, learning a foreign language is an extraordinary career option. Career in a foreign language is not only attractive in terms of fulfilling the innate passion to know culture and people but also earns you handsome salary. Knowing one foreign language alongside English adds significant value to career prospects. However, be ready to put in a lot of effort as learning a language is a painstaking task and requires high levels of concentration and a lot of hard work.
 
With Indian companies emerging as global players and Indian market being eyed by multinational companies, it becomes essential that there is no dearth of professionals who can overcome language barriers and facilitate smooth communication for proper business transactions. Foreign language experts with a good understanding of cultures are in great demand in the corporate world. The scope of foreign languages as career is stupendous and candidates willing to explore it have multitude of job opportunities in various multinational companies and multilateral organisations. Moreover, language skills are essential attribute in most professions and help in the advancement of career.
 
Academic qualification and proficiency in foreign languages opens the gate for career in sectors such as tourism, embassies, diplomatic service, entertainment, public relations and mass communication, international organisations, publishing, interpretation and translation, etc. Additionally, various multinational corporate bodies require candidates possessing excellent language skills in French, German, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, etc. Some new avenues such as online content writers, technical translators or decoders too have come up in a big way.
 
Despite huge demand for foreign language professionals there is not much information available for aspirants. As a result few professionals come out from foreign language institutes which ultimately results in a dearth of trained foreign language experts. India requires a huge number of foreign language experts, particularly in Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. Whereas India possesses millions of English language experts, it faces shortage of people who know French, German and Portuguese. One important reason for shortage of trained foreign language professionals is lack of infrastructural set up in institutes and universities. Also, there are not many institutes which offer quality training in any foreign language. Additionally, most of the foreign language training centres or universities are located only in metros and big cities and candidates from small cities cannot afford to come to learn languages in metros.
 
Market for professional experts in foreign languages, particularly in European languages is expected to widen up in couple of decades. Evalueserve, an international research company claims that there would be a requirement of more than 1,60,000 foreign language professionals in various BPO, IT and KPO processes in India. Moreover, there is a strong requirement for skilled foreign language professionals who can effectively work in language-sensitive processes outsourced to India by companies located in the European countries.The research company concludes that the total addressable market for language-sensitive work is worth USD 14.4 billion. The demand is putting aside the English language experts which are in plenty in India.
 
A major issue with India’s foreign language professionals is that they are not efficient enough to work in language-sensitive processes thanks to their inefficient training. Numerous companies hire foreign professionals with proficiency in languages for outsourced work despite their heavy fees which, in fact, shows that Indian language professional can cash in, given right training is provided to them.
 
Positives/Negatives
The demand for a language depends a lot on the country and its economic prowess; therefore, it is important to take an informed decision while choosing a particular language as a field of study. One fine example is Russian language. When the Soviet Union was at the helm of international business and India’s biggest development partner, Russian experts were in high demand; however, after the breakdown of the Soviet Union, there is not much scope for Russian language professionals. Same is the situation with Persian language. Now it is China and Japan that offer attractive job prospects for Chinese and Japanese language professionals respectively.
 
Despite the fact that there are certain inherent risks in deciding upon a career in foreign languages, it is an interesting career. Nevertheless, the satisfaction of knowing a foreign language is worth taking the risk. And in any case, a well thought out decision taken after setting the priorities is certain to steer you in the right direction.
 
 
A passion to  learn foreign language is must as it  helps to know the language in fulsome manner,
Readymade sentences do not help in long term, so learn the language from scratch and construct your own sentences. There would be problem at the beginning but effort would pay in the end.
A learning aptitude and zeal to excel is must to build up proficiency in spoken aspect of the language.
If active interaction is possible, use it to maximize the language skills. No one can speak better than native speaker so talk with them to enhance spoken skills,
What various MNCs and KPOs look for in candidates is their fluency and clarity in the language 

A survey by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has revealed four key points that may help to understand the dire state of the Covid-19 in the country, perhaps to curb the ever-increasing corona.  Find a way to help.  One, the second outbreak of the corona virus in March this year is probably due to a lack of ‘meaningful antibodies’ in sero-positive individuals.  Second, vegetarian diets are high in fiber, which also plays a role in strengthening the body against covid.  Finally, people with blood group ‘O’ have a lower risk of developing COVID-19, while people with blood group ‘B’ and ‘AB’ have a higher risk.
 The study was conducted by a team of 140 doctors and scientists on 10,427 people who underwent CSIR in 17 states and two Union Territories.  They work in 40 labs or have family members.  According to the study, the corona peaked during the first wave in September 2020 and has since declined in new cases in the country since October.  Now the question is why the second wave came?  Before answering, be aware that antibodies (nucleocapsid) antibodies provide long-term carriers of viral exposure or infection.  The study states that the average sero positivity among its volunteers was 10.14 per cent, which means that India had a large number of recovered immune individuals by September 2020, especially those using high contact workers and public transport.  Among the people, there was a decrease in new cases.
 But if this type of immunity is not needed in the future to prevent infection, the same applies to the most affected areas (such as Maharashtra, Delhi, etc.), then the antibodies to prevent infection become very low after five to six months.  , Which increases the risk of re-infection.  The survey found that about 20 per cent of sero-positive individuals lacked ‘meaningful antibodies’.  Therefore, after the peak of the disease in September 2020, the second wave of infection started in March 2021, which is expected to explode by mid-May and then, according to University of Michigan Professor Bhramar Mukherjee, the daily rate of infection in India is 8-10.  There could be millions of new cases and an average of 4,500 deaths a day with covid.
 It may be recalled that in September 2020, experts were predicting a second wave of corona in India in March-April 2021, which would be even more worrying than before and would require more oxygen.  That is why similar reports were published in Lacante.  But unfortunately India’s political leadership did not take it seriously.  In January this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proudly declared that India had not only overcome the epidemic but was also an inspiration to other countries.  At a meeting in February 2021, national office-bearers of the ruling BJP lauded the Prime Minister’s “efficient, sensitive, dedicated and far-sighted leadership” for overcoming Kovid.  Because, according to their estimates, “everything was fine” in the country (and it was going to be fine), the Indian vaccine (which was contracted with the companies in January 2021) to gain political respect and acclaim  The United States had signed agreements with nine companies in May 2020 alone (sold to 90 countries or given away for free).
 Medical oxygen exports also nearly doubled compared to last year.  The situation here is that both vaccines and oxygen are in short supply.  Not only that, our political leadership has been busy with religious programs (such as Aquarius) and election rallies, inviting crowds, as if Kovid has no problem.  As a result, there is a severe shortage of essential medicines and oxygen, patients and the dead are not being accommodated from the hospital to the cemetery, and infections and deaths are on the rise.  The disease cannot be controlled by removing this worrying situation from the media, Facebook and Twitter, blaming the opposition and putting the responsibility on the states.  It is true that there has been a flurry of misinformation and fake news on social media, from how the virus spreads to its alleged treatment but there is no point in government control over social media because sharing the right information on it.  Doing so also helps the government and people get oxygen, plasma, medicines etc. when they ask for help.
 Hospitals have also posted beds and oxygen notices via Twitter.  When the government system collapses, social workers, NGOs and volunteers set up the equipment based on information received through social media.  Pictures on social media have exposed the leopards of burning cheetahs and official hospital data.  It is on social media that people are sharing their grief and encouraging each other.  The Prime Minister is right to say that the second wave has shaken the country.  It is a good thing that they are now willing to ‘accept the advice of experts and scientists’ to deal with it. But if arrangements are made for early adoption of Kerala and Tamil Nadu treatment models and health infrastructure across the country, perhaps a third.  The movement can be avoided

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