COVID-19 – possibly the largest pandemic the world has ever seen – led to an economic crisis probably more radical and global than ever before; as well as disruption of learning on an unprecedented scale. The pandemic caused a major children’s rights crisis: all service sectors being profoundly impacted, with the most disadvantaged being disproportionately affected
Impact on schooling
- The pandemic multiplied the drop-out rate and caused a huge learning deficit in those who remain.
- The digital divide is only one of many challenges.
- 8 to 10 crore children face total illiteracy. Enrolment and achievement levels in secondary school have plummeted further.
- Out-of-school girls face early marriage or even trafficking. Boys are dropping out too — sometimes, reversing all precedent, more than girls — obviously from the need to earn money.
- The damage, pedagogic and psychological, caused by prolonged online learning will emerge over time.
- The online coaching “industry” has surged exponentially, becoming a wildcard factor whose relations with the formal schooling system remain undefined. Hence, even those buying education at a premium cannot tell what value they will receive.
Impact on higher education
- Poor students have markedly less access to quality higher education.
- The pandemic has affected public universities vastly more than private ones, owing to the former’s greater sprawl and the average economic condition of their students.
- Teachers lack the knowledge and skills required to provide digital education. Similarly, pupils copy from textbooks during exams since there aren’t enough invigilating software applications to catch cheating.
- According to the India Skills Report 2021, just 45.9 percent of Indian youngsters have appropriate employable skills. Online learning will have an even greater impact on students’ employability. This demonstrates deficiencies in the quality of the higher education programme.
- The whole infrastructure should be properly utilised, and if required, many more facilities to impart education should be invested in (and built). Because classroom teaching allows us to convey much more than just facts.
- Innovative teaching approaches should be implemented in schools. Other states, for example, may adopt the Delhi government’s happiness curriculum to improve pupils’ mental health.
- The evaluation should be focused on the ability to analyse, and the questions should be structured such that students must apply their thoughts to answer the questions on each subject.
- Instead than relying just on textbook tests, students’ evaluations must be based on an integrated approach. Indicators such as peer interaction, inquisitive potential, creativity acumen, and so on should be given this weightage.
- On a weekly basis, instructors and non-teaching personnel should visit the kids’ neighbourhood (in and around the school area) to observe the entire job. They should take notes on the difficulties pupils have in grasping the reading content, as well as whether or not things are getting to them on time.
- To accomplish all of these initiatives, we must provide enough fiscal assistance to the school sector. As a result, it is critical to expand education’s share of GDP to 6% by 2020, as proposed by the NEP.
How to structure
- Give an intro about the Covid pandemic or about the changes in education in India
- Explain how the pandemic has affected the schooling as well as higher duration in India- explain about digital divide as well
- Suggest measures on how to bridge this digital divide and what more can be done to make education for inclusive