According to a report titled Locked Out: Emergency Report on School Education, the closure of elementary and upper-primary schools during the epidemic, as well as the move to virtual education, has had a disastrous impact on children in India’s underprivileged homes. With the help of over 100 volunteers, IIT economics professor Reetika Khera, economist Jean Drèze, and researcher Vipul Paikra put together the paper, which was released today. Unicef and Unesco had expressed similar concerns earlier in July, adding that “reopening schools for in-person learning must wait.” Over 156 million kids were affected by the closure of elementary and secondary schools in 19 nations, according to their statement. According to the statement, some of the losses that children will suffer as a result of this can never be recouped, ranging from learning loss and mental pain to missed meals and social skill development. Similar problems were raised in the Locked Out report. It highlighted the “catastrophic” implications of protracted school closures by spanning 15 states and union territories and roughly 1,400 households, 60 percent of which are poor.
ONLINE EDUCATION: BEYOND THE REACH!
According to the data, only 8% of students in rural areas and 24% of children in urban areas study online on a regular basis. According to the analysis, one of the key reasons for this is that nearly half of the rural homes examined did not have access to a smartphone. Even those who had access and attended online classes regularly were 31% and 15% in urban and rural areas respectively. Some basic obstacles include the problem of connectivity, lack of knowledge for online studies, difficulty to concentrate for longer durations, late or no upload of study material by schools, etc. Many states, including Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh, did “absolutely nothing,” according to the survey. Some measures were made in areas like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan, such as giving children offline “worksheets” or asking teachers to visit parents’ houses for guidance on a regular basis.
HAVING A DETRIMENTAL EFFECT!
Prior to the shutdown, going to school for both children and parents in rural and semi-urban India meant that children were guaranteed at least two square meals per day under the noon meal program. This has altered as a result of school closures. Another somewhat long-term effect of children’s lack of access to education is the deterioration of fundamental reading abilities. A basic reading test was included in the survey, in which youngsters had to read a simple sentence in large font. The results were alarming: nearly half of the students in Classes 3 to 5 were unable to read more than a few words. In remote places, 42% of people couldn’t read a single word. In both rural and urban areas, little over half of the pupils in Classes 6 to 8 were able to read proficiently at the upper-primary level. Parents in both rural and urban settings recognized the impact of this divide. According to the data, 97 percent of parents polled in rural regions support school reopening.