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June 11, 2020 Thursday 11:01:11 PM IST

Lockdown: Fostering Creative Thinking and Living

Rajagiri Round Table

Even as the lockdown was extended after two months for a further period of thirty days, there were moments of despair, disappointment and anguish in society but there were stories as well of how people creatively managed their lives at home, workplace or in educational campuses. The 59th Rajagiri International Round Table Conference got across to a cross section of people to get their views about the break throughs achieved, innovative ideas, disruptive inventions, radical transformations and revolutionary changes.

Redefining Marketing Communications

Ramesh Jogani, Managing Director, The Real Estate Company, Mumbai:

We have launched a unique marketing campaign to connect with our audience during lockdown period. A first ever online content cum stand-up comedy in real estate industry was done to promote a landmark development project of the company in Matunga West. The event was conducted by the popular stand-up comedian Anirban Dasguplta. We have been pioneering development, redefining communication and singularly focusing on a value proposition we can offer through every project we undertake. Story-telling as a narrative and being inclusive in our execution is inherent to us and hence, in these extraordinary times we have been identifying opportunities that can be implemented virtually to continue maintaining an empathetic dialogue with our consumers. The objective is to create a moment where we are all taking a break from the routine and getting to understand our stakeholders better, as compared to the ‘business as usual’ scenarios where discussions are limited, predefined as a monologue and where time eternally is distributed.



Reality of Virtual Learning

Janani Ramanathan, Senior Research Analyst at The Mother’s Service Society Pondicherry:

Future learning needs to be a shared responsibility between teachers, students and parents. With online and digital learning becoming more mainstream, students are not going to find themselves compelled to physically stay in the classroom and teachers are not going to be able to constantly monitor them. Students will need to become motivated to voluntarily attend online classes, pay attention, and study. For this to happen, education has to become enjoyable, and evaluation more relevant and wholistic, so that children discover the joy of learning.


Philip Daniel, Corporate Trainer: 

What I found good during the lockdown period was the saving of the commute from home to office and back as many people were working from home. The commute time saved was used by many in improving quality time spent with family and also engaging in non-work-related matters that we were passionate about. It could be simple things like gardening, trying your hands at cooking or even reading or watching movies. The important thing to enjoy the lockdown period is to have positive mindset and to think creatively. Negative mindset will make us waste our time and be irritating to other family members. Online learning will be successful only if government provides low cost tablets or laptops with internet connectivity in villages. The quality of teachers in government schools and bad infrastructure are causes for concern as online learning has become an inevitability.

Dr Job Kuruvila, Academician:

I am concerned over the euphoria created over online learning forgetting the fact that smart phone/TV/tablets cannot replace the teacher competent to handle the Affect (emotional needs) fo students. The cognitive-thinking- and psychomotor-learning by doing also will be casualties in this digital learning especially for the young mind. If we continue with this teaching mode for long, the advantage of the “haves” over “have nots “will increase, but the digital class can celebrate their undeserving advantage. Look at the suicide by a Dalit girl, having no TV or smart phone “even though she was brilliant studies! There can be problems with evaluation also in virtual learning. Teaching without focus on learning is flawed.


PK Shihabudheen, Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach: 

What we need now is a curriculum change wherein we teach social and emotional intelligence, right? Being brilliant in classroom will not give you skills to survive in the world. It’s a real truth that many schools lack the infrastructure for modern education. Government should provide aids for helping students go digital, reduce the amount spent on salary of teachers. The brilliant performance of teachers in Victers Channel in Kerala enabled several students to learn from home on first day of school re-opening with virtual classes. But how many students are able to experience quality learning in our government schools when they go to classrooms?


Pseudo Hygiene Consciousness


CN Manoj , CEO of Pelican Biotech and Chemical Labs:

In this pandemic lockdown focus of government machinery has gone into disease management. Pseudo hygiene consciousness rather than boosting immunity of individuals is getting prominence. Presence of microbes and viruses doesn’t cause infections but absence of immunity. It is time we start defining the ultimate goal of the sum of all education and training so that we can find the first baby step towards it. 


Reaching out to Parents


Rosanna Stoop-Maigret, Psychology Research Scholar, Massey University, NZ:

She had plans to study a phenomenon of memory for her master’s degree and this Covid-19 happened. It was her experience as a parent that made her curious to find out how mums and dads have coped in the pandemic lockdown. She has launched a survey for parents, with questions on different strategies that people have used at home over the past six weeks under alert level three and four. She hopes the survey results will yield evidence-based insights on stress management that can be useful in other situations.

“One of the aims of the study is to see how Kiwi parents cope with the COVID-19 restrictions and what type of strategies they use. For example, some may engage more in online activities to stay in touch with whānau and continue schooling from home. Others may find the new focus on online environments stressful and rather spend their time on outdoor activities.”



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