Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: The Professor Who Forged Futures Through the Lockdown | Surat | Wade Asia Special | Women Architects

Bhavna Vikesh Vimawala

The year 2020 was totally a roller coaster ride- It was a ride that wasn’t quite enjoyable and left us craving and chasing the need for survival. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a tyrannical monster that has been wreaking havoc across the globe — India isn’t spared from it — This led to a total lockdown a few months back in India which dwindled with our lives and thrashed our livelihoods. But, rising in the face of adversity and making a change is what defines a true hero. That is exactly what Bhavna proved she was. Here, we are presenting the interesting and engaging story of Bhavna Vikesh Vimawala, Professor, Sarvajanik College of Engineering & Technology. This story is a part of SURFACES REPORTER (SR)'s campaign in association with WADE ASIA where we invited women in Design to share their inspiring stories from 2020. Scroll down to read.

Also Read: The Way to Success: How A Women with Hope, Resilience, and Power Made It to the top

Meet Bhavna

Bhavna Vikesh Vimawala is a professor - architect from Surat, India. She is a part of the faculty of Architecture at Sarvajanik College of Engineering & Technology from Surat. She is one of the leading professors and Architects in the city and is known for her extensive expertise and in-depth knowledge of architecture as a whole. 

The Educative Troubles 

With the world trying its level best to go back to normal or rather, find a ‘new normal’, everything is coming on track slowly. But alas, the education sector is suffering and still, hustling hard to transcend the future of students. 

The students in schools, colleges, and universities of India have been unable to mark their presence in their institutions for almost a year due to the lockdown and COVID restrictions imposed to check and control the transmission of the novel coronavirus since the middle of March 2020.

Also Read: Lets Find Out How This Lady Architect Managed to Grow Her New Venture in This Tough Pandemic Period

This causes a problem as education is a golden bird, it assigns us with knowledge of the society in which we dwell and the environment around us, it grinds our adeptness to transform them for the betterment of ourselves. 

Education is the key that propels us to terraform our perspective- how we conceive ourselves in our conscience, upgrade us to have our own threshold of view, and form our own verdict on different facets of life- With this missing from the lives of students, would they be able to grow into successful adults? 

The key to this problem was maintaining proper functionality for the smooth tenor of education among students and that is, unfortunately, a hell of a job. 

But with stern perseverance, not even a pandemic can stop an institution from providing optimum education to its students, Bhavna and her department proved that. SCET- Architecture (Surat) is the embodiment of the example of perseverance and dedication towards providing proper education on the path of hurdles in the form of a pandemic. 

With dynamic faculty members like Bhavna who were inclined to perform their job to work in the favour of students, the institute valiantly coped with the hardship in the time of hardships and came out with tranquillity.

How Did They Cruise in the Course of the Pandemic?

When the news of pandemic rolled on the nook and corner of newspapers and news channels, and no guidelines and manoeuvres were introduced by the government and UGC department, The SCET – architecture institute had already perceived the situation to be consistent for a long time and wanted to sail smoothly through this disaster without hampering the education of their students. 

For this reason, several measures were taken by the institution, like arranging a well-synchronised set of online classes with regular college hours. Faculties like Bhavna also vouched to check up on the progress of the students with the help of social media apps to apprehend their requirements. 

Bhavna was dedicated to providing proper inducement of assignments for students through the online portal along with providing them with the relevant notes for self-study. She made sure that proper feedback on all the tests and assignments was provided by the faculties to cultivate a healthy learning environment. All this helped them prepare well for their end-semester exams and score well. 

Also Read: The Urban Future: The Inspiring Story of Leena Kumar

The necessary investment was made on the required equipment to achieve this feat, ënabling all the classrooms to handle and execute with ease, the modern way of learning. Platforms such as Zoom and Google Classrooms were set up and used. Along with this, response teams and a central monitoring system were set-ups to monitor the stream of online classes and to procure and keep records of the students’ database, which included theirattendance, performance, and queries related to their academics. 

The Obstacles to Educational Success

As the pandemic slowed and the doors of the college have been opened now, the staff members have recently started attending college physically in a batch/shift-wise manner. This was done while taking care of the government directives of social distancing. No outsiders were allowed on the campus except the faculties and other support staff members. 

Affected by the change in study patterns, students suffered and the learning dropped in tempo. They needed encouragement to deal with distress and to boost morale. Psychological, social and monetary supports were extended to students who were in need. To allow the parents to cope with the monetary burden an ininstallmentystem was set-up for the fees to be paid with ease.

Bhavna believes that, “adapting the hybrid approach and blended learning will continue even after normal classroom teaching takes over.  Due to online availability, distances were reduced and better connections with eminent speakers were established. This opened new avenues of learning & healthy collaborations were initiated with many competent & global universities. Accepting the situation and facing it with the right spirit and positive attitude is of the essence and preaching the same approach to the students is just as important.”

Also Read: Success & Survival: How A Women Dared To Grow In The Lockdown

Explaining the attitude of the staff, Bhavna said “Our Principal always reminded us that ‘There is no education like adversity. This pandemic too has been an educator for all of us. It taught us that we must remain lifelong learners adapting to the need of the hour, connecting emotionally to our students through this online teaching mode was difficult, but not impossible.” She further added, “Through this period- we realised that our students are amazingly resilient and the planet’s future is secure in their hands.” 

The education industry has always been open to changes. Pandemic had a negative impact worldwide, but the education industry saw numerous new prospects in this avenue. 

Educational institutes will have to upgrade themselves as facilitators rather than just imparting knowledge through outdated and monotonous methods.  

Bhavna believes that,“ We are educators who should take pride in moulding future leaders and if we do not lead by example, then we have no business of being educators.”

Thanks to educators and professionals like Ms. Bhavna Vikesh Vimawala, the education sector is bound to shine through the most unexpected turn of events because only in true pressure can a true diamond be created.

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