Two research scholars from Guwahati will take part in a project initiated by Commonwealth Secretariat to examine the impact of COVID-19 on education.
The two research scholars – Raja Das and Hoimawati Talukdar – from the Department of Communication & Journalism at Gauhati University, will join 158 other young researchers from across 54 Commonwealth nations in the project.
The two from Gauhati University are the only researchers selected from across Northeast India.
The project ‘OpenUpThinking’ is an ambitious research project relating to the present COVID-19 situation.
Raja Das was selected for his thematic area: ‘Harnessing ICT and innovative digital low-cost solutions while ensuring access, equity and safeguarding during and post-COVID-19’, while Hoimawati Talukdar was selected for ‘Access and inclusivity in education: Addressing the barriers for the most disadvantaged and marginalized in times of pandemics’.
Reacting on her selection, Hoimawati Talukdar said that the plight of the migrant workers moved her. “As the current pandemic has forced millions of migrant workers to walk on foot, I decided to work on this topic. I wanted to highlight the plight of these marginalized people who cannot afford to live a luxurious life staying within their homes. They are forced to work or die. In either way it’s a road to death for them in this current pandemic. As a human, I thought it was my responsibility to talk about their issues on an international platform so that the government along with international agencies can come to their aid,” she told The News Mill.
Raja Das, who will be working low-cost solutions for innovative method in education, said that it is a privilege to work with Commonwealth project. “It is time to explore a low cost digital solution in the field of education. We should also need to keep in mind that a developing country like India has only 23 per cent household internet availability. From Indian point of view, it is important to address these issues on a global platform than mere digitalization of education. Access and equity to education even with harnessing of ICT must be looked for,” he said.
The Commonwealth selects 10-15 researchers in each of the 15 thematic areas under the project that includes looking at how governments are positioning and supporting public institutions such as school systems, how low cost digital solutions can be used and how higher education institutions are working to build their resilience.