Address By Dr. Tamo Chattopadhay


By Dr. Tamo Chattopadhay, Director of Institute of Education, and Head of the Social Sciences Division, American University of Central Asia


School (as we know it) is off. What are you waiting for?


You are in high school. Your school is closed. Exams disrupted. You are hearing a lot of talk about online learning, but you are unsure how or when you will complete this current academic year’s requirements, and be able to move on with your next set of plans. You are worried whether you will be able to get into your dream college. Get ready for the dream career. And if you are in college already – you are afraid of the devastating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the economy. Will companies hire fresh college graduates like you once they begin to count their losses? Will you be able to get any scholarship in these dire times to study abroad in America of Europe – given the toll the Coronavirus is having on those wealthier societies?



If you are worrying about these things, you are not alone. These are uncertain times, filled with anxieties. But being consumed by worries and anxieties will not help. Instead, take actions.Now. You must take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – when the school clock has stopped, (or at least slowed down), and you can use all your creativity, energy and intelligence to learn something you really care about -something that is not part of your school curriculum!See, the point is, in the big scheme of things a few months early or late makes little difference in your learning trajectory. What does make a profound difference is your ability to pause, reflect and empathize – on your inner self, with the world around you. And here, in the world of learning and doing, I have one challenge for you – can you learn and do something that helps others who have less than you do – who seemed to have gotten the wrong lottery ticket of life?


See, that fact that you are reading this message, already means you have a lot going on in your favor – you can read and write in English, you have access to internet and a digital device, and you know how to find your way around the internet. Why don’t you look up online the number of children and adolescents – just the folks of your age bracket –who do not possess any of those things that I just mentioned you have? And then add a few more dimensions of deprivation and vulnerability – no drinking water, no roof on the head, no warm meal, no doctor to see and no school to go to –before or after the coronavirus pandemic. What can you do to help those kids with your education, your smartphone and your youthful energy? From the relative comfort of your home, with your laptop, internet and your unwavering focus, what can you design, think, plan, organize, and enact that makes a real difference in someone’s life? No need to think about big scale impact – just make a difference in one young person’s life – just one.


And one more thing, be safe.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

April 2, 2020


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