“Schools and colleges lay the foundation of a child. So, it’s best to hit the iron when it’s hot and make them responsible citizen and enable them to think and act globally,” says Bijaya Kumar Sahoo, advisor cum working president, Odisha Adarsha Vidyalaya Sangathan, Odisha government.
It will also help make the new generation understand the importance of clean water, sanitation, sustainable cities and communities, climate action and life on land as part of the sustainable development goal.
You have successfully cast your vote
A school curriculum needs to have holistic content. “It is more advisable to build one, which educates children about their health and safety issue in a comprehensive format,” says Vinod Malhotra, advisor, Seth Anandaram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions.
“Although, pandemic and disaster management are directly connected with children’s safety there are many other areas including lifestyle management, healthy eating habits good exercise regimen that impacts their health and wellbeing. We are, therefore, in favour of creating a curriculum that addresses all these issues,” adds Malhotra.
Awareness among students
Children are quick learners, and they adapt to changes swiftly. “Pandemic and disaster management system, if introduced in the early classes as a subject then it is sure to bring about a transformation in the mindsets of the children,” says Sahoo.
Education today cannot be limited to academics alone and must prepare a child to face real life challenges such as pandemic, disasters and many more. “They must have the knowledge and the skills to handle them. A structured curriculum will go a long way in strengthening the overall system,” explains Malhotra.
Covid: an eye opener
The world had not seen a pandemic of this magnitude in the recent past. Odisha being exposed to one of the most vulnerable geographical locations faces cyclones almost every year. This has opened the eyes and has given the insight to start training the future citizen by catching them young.
“Making pandemic and disaster management part of curriculum will enable and empower the future generation to face the unpredictability and the wrath of nature year after year with help in mitigating such conditions not only in Odisha but wherever these students migrate to in future,” says Sahoo.
“Odisha’s decision also makes us realise that education has to become relevant and empower the new generation to face new challenges and have the skills to solve problems and also contribute to the growth of the nation,” adds Malhotra.
Ways to spread awareness
Experts believe that to sensitise children about the significance of the pandemic and disaster management, it should be made as a compulsory subject in both school and college. Symposiums, debates and talks focusing on this subject should be held. They also recommend constitution of a core committee of students to spread awareness about the criticality of the subject in both rural and urban areas.
The main focus of this subject is crisis management therefore mock drills, evacuation process as exemplified in emergency, drills must be a part of the curriculum. “Keeping in mind the geographical stretch the plan of action should be designed. It is not just sufficient to have an education on how to. Rather, we need to focus more on what to do at the times of crisis. In that space, risk information, understanding, and perception have a critical role to play. We need to think of a more holistic perspective within which to encourage resilience in the human, natural, and socioeconomic/governance systems,” highlights Sahoo.