That the COVID 19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation for us is not in doubt. That it means our lives will change forever from here on in isn’t either. Business also has been impacted. While all disruptions of this magnitude destroy several businesses, it results in windfall for some. Essential goods suppliers have cashed in, most other businesses are reeling. Whatever side of the P&L a business may have been on, is it not the responsibility of every business to show sensitivity and care in these times?
One such business, is education.
Globally all colleges/educational institutions had to shut down due to the pandemic. Most quickly addressed the need for teaching from a safe distance. Apps like Zoom, Google Meet etc. were quickly identified, circulars were sent out on how the business of teaching would be propagated as a basic necessity and a worthy cause. Now 4 months on, with building rentals, electricity bills and many other school/college utilities being left unused, it’s difficult to quantify which side of the P&L they are on, unlike other businesses.
The question about sensitivity and care remains.
Its estimated that over 30% of our middle class faces layoffs and pay-cuts. Most of them are parents spending for the education of 1, 2 or in some cases 3 children. They too have a P&L of their own, and I suspect for most of them, it doesn’t look good.
Back to the business of teaching. For those schools that are imposing a composite fee structure, which includes–tuition fee, annual charges , development fee, and the famous miscellaneous fee, some questions on sensitivity and care, that I thought of.
- You do understand that most resources – electricity, laptops/desktops/internet that are being used for online classes belong to the student or the teacher?
- Are your meeting apps subscribed to, and don’t disconnect after a fixed time? If not, they are free.
- Have your teachers attended course(s) on how to teach effectively online, 4 months under the pump? Are you sensitive to their struggle to come to terms with this new mode?
- Have you researched the most effective way to teach students of various age groups – screen time, attention spans etc.?
- If not, are you showing care and sensitivity, expected of a worthy profession, by charging composite fee, from parents grappling with an increasingly negative statement?
Contrarytoexpectations,schoolssende-mailsaskingtheparentstopayup –evendeployteacherstocallparents as theirownsalarieswere on hold – or withhold sessions.
Is it too much to be expected of private educational businesses to align themselves with the financial and health conundrum of their customers ?As parents, myself one, the expectation is not charity, but of being reasonable and understanding.
(Article Authored by Nitin Narang – a concerned parent)