How much can a four-year-old really learn from a smartphone?

Source: Indian Express

Relevance: Addressing issues arising out of COVID’s impact on primary education

Synopsis: Alleviating the impact of COVID on India’s primary education sector involves bringing back the dropouts, addressing the learning deficit and an increased requirement of manpower.

How can India resolve COVID-induced problems in primary education?
  • Bringing back the dropouts: Whenever schools reopen, to bring back the dropouts. The Uttar Pradesh government proposes to track all students disappearing between Classes VIII and IX. The exercise needs extending to all classes in all states, especially the very young, who might otherwise be consigned to illiteracy for life.
    • Among migrant workers’ children, 46.2% were out of school by July 2020. The Education Ministry has a three-page guideline for their rehabilitation that calls for a database of children who have left the state. Such guidelines are impractical without detailed planning, transfer of funds and active coordination with the states.
  • Addressing the learning deficit: The second task is to plug the huge learning deficit. It calls for detailed yet open-ended planning, adjustable to the evolving COVID scenario. That planning needs to start right now.
  • Requirement of manpower: These measures, current and future, demand much more manpower than the regular corps of teachers can provide. Given the scale and urgency of the need, it might be undertaken in mission mode.
  • Increased spending under the SAKSHAM scheme is desperately needed to arrest the decline in nutrition and child growth evident for years and grossly aggravated by the pandemic.
Also read: Blended model of learning – Explained in detail
How have states adapted their offline instruction model?

The states, have adopted two major strategies for offline instruction.

  • Teaching material is distributed and worksheets collected for review. Parents might play a part, but success depends on the teacher’s monitoring.
  • Lockdown schools: Here small groups of children meet their teacher at a place other than their school. Karnataka has formalized the arrangement. Such endeavors work best in villages, which have more open spaces and better community support; but they reach only a minority of children.
Print Friendly and PDF