Prepared in Season and Out of Season
Christianna Singh, Ph.DPrincipal and SecretaryLady Doak CollegeMadurai, IndiaAugust 28, 2020
As I reflect over the past few months of dramatic changes and challenges induced by COVID-19, I remember Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the young Timothy. “Be prepared in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Though I take it seemingly out of context, these words are quite relevant. As an educator and leader, I take pride in our students and staff who with their multifarious technological skills already instilled in them, even before the pandemic, could rise to this difficult situation. The impetus to use technology to enhance traditional learning systems was instilled in our students and faculty members much ahead of the onslaught of the virus and the drastic changes that have distraught our life and the educational system.
In spite of the preparedness there are students who suffer the impact of the Digital Divide. Students living in remote villages and from economically challenged families are not able to afford a smart phone or a data card. For such students, access to online education is one more mountain to surmount. Amidst the entire churn and the change, as a Christian Institution we try our best to help out these students. Occasionally, I get information about students who go through emotional disturbances because they miss face to face class and meeting with their teachers and peers. Our counsellors and teachers are connected to such students and they keep in touch with our students and lend them timely counsel.
The joy and jostle of campus life has been brought to a standstill. Living inside the campus, coping with the emptiness is yet another challenge I face. At this time of the year college campus normally buzzes with life. There would be anxious students and parents queuing up for admission. This year queries have been received as letters at the gate (due to the SOP of lockdown restrictions), by email and incessant phone calls but answered with efficiency by staff donning new responsibilities as part of a ‘back-end’ team along with administration. Applicants were also given the freedom to write directly to me and whoever had trouble with online payment and thus couldn’t get their admissions were immediately helped. Maya Angelou’s words, “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst and unsurprised by anything in between” best renders our preparedness.
So even at a time when all hope seemed to shape itself into despair, with the power of the resurrected Lord Jesus and His ever abiding presence we only got inured to the challenges and changes!
About the Author: Dr. Christianna Singh, the Principal of Lady Doak College is also a former United Board Scholar & Fellow and an economist par excellence with her area of specialization on Gender Economics. Beyond her scholarly purviews, she extends her talents and expertise in areas like music and technology. She contributes both as a vocal-trainer and as a violinist. Dr. Singh has been a visionary in having the foresight on the need to stress on the importance of technological enhancements in teaching which has proved invaluable during these times. Ever ready to lend a helping hand, her main focus has been on the upliftment of the underprivileged learners who continually seek and receive guidance and support from the Lady Doak College.
About the Institute: Lady Doak College, the brainchild of Ms. Katie Wilcox, the American Missionary, has had a unique history in providing quality education to women based on Christian precepts and ideals. Begun in 1948, Lady Doak was one of the first women’s colleges in the region at a time when women could not find opportunities for higher education. Now, the college hosts over 4,500 students, 40% of which are first generation learners. Ever true to its roots, Lady Doak holds fast to its motto, Semper Pro Veritate (Always for the Truth).