Hyderabad: Adversity is inevitable. What matters is how you overcome it. When the entire nation is under lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic, well laid out plans went for a toss. Many had to shelve programmes underway while a few abandoned them altogether.

The Dr. MCR HRD Institute also found itself on the horns of a dilemma – should it abandon midway the foundation courses it was conducting or complete them. Opinions differed but the institute decided to continue them.

As many as 142 trainee civil servants, including 61 IFS and 59 IPS officers besides 33 Military Engineer Services Probationers, are undergoing training. They were immediately sent back to their respective areas before transportation became a problem.

Converting adversity into opportunity posed a challenge. But, Institute Director General Dr. B.P. Acharya, rose to the occasion. He resolved to deliver the rest of the foundation courses through the virtual mode.

“While conventional training has its own strengths, online training is the need of the hour, especially in the post Covid-19 scenario,” says Dr Acharya. The programme, scheduled for 45 days, is concluding on Friday.

Online classes are the in-thing these days. But for government organisations emerging from shadows of conventionality is tad difficult. Moreover, e-learning posed many a challenge. Pedagogy has to adapt to the new mode of communication as technology keeps everyone busy with video lectures, worksheets and assignments.

Two online platforms, Cisco WebEx and Impartus, were chosen to reach out to the officer trainees (OTs) spread all over the country. Another online portal -Udemy for Government – was also made use of. It was a new experience for both the teachers and the taught and they went all out to pick up the future mode of communication. A. Sridevi, director, IT, and Prof. Abbas Ali , academic coordinator, ensured that the delivery of the courses was flawless.

The greatest advantage of the online course was that the institute need not have to depend on Hyderabad-based resource persons alone. It tapped into a wider pool of experts with global credentials from across the country.

Eminent persons like Dr. Menaka Guruswamy, a senior Supreme Court advocate, Gurjit Singh, former Ambassador, Anil Swarup, former secretary, School Education and Gnana Rajasekaran, award-winning filmmaker and Dr. Narendar V. Rao from Northeastern University of Illinois, USA, addressed the OTs.

As it turned out the programme was a roaring success. Though spread over 170 different locations, the OTs never felt they were not under one roof.

Not just academic activity, even The Mela, India Day and cultural programmes, were carried out online. Donning traditional attire, the OTs enlivened the evening as they sang and danced. Who said online learning is the next big thing. It is the now big thing.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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