Ms. Rabiah Bhatia is one of the most influential educators in the education sector. Her works and contributions to the world of education have won her multiple awards and ‘the excelligent’ magazine listed her among the 100 admired people in education 2021.

Rabiah, the founder of eD Web Studio Channel is also a British council certified Spoken English trainer, career growth advisor, branding and PR professional, HR professional, and has worked with many reputed educational institutions.

She is many things but moreover she is a wonderful TEACHER.

Here is an excerpt from ‘Discuss Education’ with Ms. Rabiah Bhatia, powered by Linways.

1. The education scenario witnessed a drastic change in the past year. Do you think this is the beginning of a new system of education?

Last year during the first phase of the lockdown we were all expecting positive news and thought all this would stop with the end of 2020. We entered 2021 with a positive mindset, great enthusiasm and double energy. 

Now we are experiencing something new in the education system. The first reason for this is the coming of the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020. It brought in lots of changes to be implemented in the training of teachers, vocational training of the students and the holistic growth of the students as well as the educators, because only if we, the educators are trained well, we will be able to train the youth and the students well. The NEP is one of the major reasons we are excited to enter 2021.

But somewhere the educators were prepared for a hybrid solution. We knew from now on we will train the students in offline and online modes combined. The higher education system, that is colleges and universities, in February this year restarted operating offline. Students and educators started going to the colleges. But the schools followed a mixed approach and operated in shifts, all while meeting all the necessary precautions.

But the situation was worse again when the covid resurfaced with more power. We had to close down everything immediately. The education system was the most affected by this. While talking about the education of a child, we also have to talk about his/her health as well. If the children are of good health then they can cope up with any situation. The educators are in the process of finding a way to continue education without compromising children’s health.

As there is a third wave of covid coming by September, all we can do is rely on the Almighty for a miracle and be prepared. In such a scenario, education should remain purely online. It is better to adapt to the situation as it comes rather than planning because everything happens as per God’s plan.

2. “Everything else can be interrupted, not learning.'” How can educators ensure uninterrupted learning during the pandemic.?

Learning should not stop. Not just for kids or youth, but for every individual. Where learning stops, there we stop growing. Only if we, the educators learn, they will be able to teach the kids. So from last year we started learning about digital platforms. Educators shifted to online platforms for conducting classes. We started making youtube videos, we learned zoom and google meet, and other applications like flipgrade. To simply put it, we adopted technology, digital platforms and applications and we made ourselves equipped so that our work is not affected, students do not feel alone or ignored and learning is not interrupted.

 3. What is your opinion about hybrid learning models?

Hybrid mode is basically a mixture of online and offline mode of education. All the sectors, be it IT or corporate or you name it, have gone online mode and adopted the work from home culture. But education is one sector where we cannot make everything online for a permanent basis. There needs to be exams, and assessments. But more than anything there needs to be a physical bond between the teacher and the students.

As a solution for this, we have adopted a shift system in schools and colleges. We assigned specific days for different batches by taking all the precautions as well as safety measures and maintaining proper social distancing. We ensured the health of students and educators are not compromised.

This is what an ideal hybrid model looks like. Not just students but also teachers were taken care of because of adopting a hybrid model.

4. How can teachers bring out the best in students?

A year ago, the scenario was the teachers and students were having a physical bond. Since last year that bond has been missing. So what did we as educators do?

We made ourselves approachable to the students individually without thinking of timing, be it day or night. We continue to do so because the students need emotional support more than academic support at this point of time.

Not just school and college students but the youth worrying about their career also need a mentor at this point of time. We teachers became that mentor for them. They can take out their hearts in front of us. We are all ears for them if they face any problems be it in studies, family or career.

To bring out the best in children, we make ourselves approachable, we become their mentors. We understand the student psychology and their mindset. We establish a heart to heart connection with every single student so that we can make effective engagement in our online classes and make it easier for students to understand their lessons.

Also we made our lessons activity based. We give them instances of real life experiences through which they can learn and understand real life in a better way.  

This is how we are able to bring out the best in the students. This is very important at this point of time. So thanks to any technology that has come into picture with which we are able to make children understand what is real life, unity, creativity, collaboration and compassion.

5. What is the relevance of technology in education in the present and future?

Technology is booming these days. For the next ten years IT will be the one industry that will be catering to every other sector. Technology has played an inevitable role in the lives of all of us. We are connected today due to technology, and in the future it will be an unavoidable and incomparable element in all our lives.

Earlier we used technology for socializing and entertainment. But with the lockdown, we used technology for learning. So thanks to technology and the makers of these platforms for making all this happen.

6. What are the benefits that New education policy can bring to our education system.?

I am in love with the New Education Policy.

Earlier the situation was that importance was only given to marks and degrees. Nobody realized that the moral values and holistic growth of the children was getting severely affected.

We have seen many children ending up in suicide due to pressure from education, family and peer regarding grades or marks.

With the coming of the NEP we are able to understand that marks and degrees alone do not make one’s destiny. It is the talent, creativity and real life experiences that make a person successful. Also one’s mission and goal in life must be in such a way that it caters not just to oneself and family, but to the entire society.

The NEP inculcates these values in every child from the early years and teaches them what is important and why everyone is important.

7. How can we motivate educators to not give up on learning during this hard time?

It’s simply the collaboration and compassion towards each other. If we need to be compassionate towards the students, first we must be compassionate towards our colleagues. Forget the competition. It is all about building heart to heart connection and helping each other to learn something new every day, being empathetic and empowering each other.

What I have learned is that nobody can grow in isolation. As a teacher I can grow only if my students are doing wonderful, my colleagues are doing great and my institution is progressing.

We educators kept aside the ego and forgot the competition and worked together and supported each other. That is the reason why we are able to encourage and motivate each other.

Team Linways wholeheartedly thank you for making out time from your busy schedule for us Ma’am. We will come up with more interviews from various educators of India in the coming weeks. 

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Also published on Medium.