As children come back to school, they will need both time and patience

Synopsis: As the schools will soon reopen after the pandemic induced gap, what should be the factors that should drive the education system?


Pandemic has had a negative impact on the education of children with students facing up to 57 weeks of school closure. They might have forgotten what they had learnt. But there has also been a loss of foundation abilities like reading, writing etc. This all has had a great impact on the learning process of children..

What are the findings of the report?

What’s next? Lessons on Education Recovery report by UNICEF, UNESCO, World Bank and OECD: It documents the steps that have been taken to overcome the backlog of learning. Nearly 41% of countries have extended the academic year. 42 % of countries have prioritized certain curriculum areas or skills. Over 2/3rd of countries have implemented remedial measures to address learning gaps.

Azim Premji Foundation’s Research: It noted that nearly 3/4th of the children in Class II have lost the ability to identify a word in print. Similarly, in Class 4th, the majority of students have lost the ability to express the gist of a poem. In Class VI more than half the children lost the ability to write their views on various events happening around them.

SCHOOL Survey : It noted that 42% children in urban areas and 48% in rural areas are unable to read more than a few words. It also indicated that most children across the primary grades have lost the basic abilities of learning.

Read more: Long term Impacts of School Closure – Explained, pointwise
How should schools frame their curriculum?

The learning outcomes should focus on the abilities children have to acquire as opposed to the content of textbooks as indicated by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). Thus, learning outcomes of specific subjects must be prioritised, and the curriculum should be reset, prioritising the need of students.

Primary schools: As the primary schools established the foundation of later learning, we need to focus on recovery of foundational abilities in language and mathematics. Along with learning of the current class, focus should also be on relearning from previous classes.

Middle school : Focus should be adopting an integrated approach to achieve learning outcomes across subjects.

Secondary and Senior secondary level: Focus should be on core learning outcomes. Learning process should be mapped to textbooks; and for this level additional material could be developed.

Teachers: Teachers should be given the autonomy to determine what and when the children should learn. Changes in curriculum and the approach to teaching-learning would require orientation of teachers.

Track the performance of students: There is a need to track the performance of students by periodic assessments, regular testing, assessments and interactions with the students. Teachers should also make sure that this process will not demotivate the children.

What should be the way forward?

We need to understand that students have not just suffered a learning loss, but lost valuable time of learning and growth. The most important thing is to give them time to settle back into routines and cover up what has been lost.

Source: This post is based on “As children come back to school, they will need both time and patience” published in the Indian Express on 17th September.

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