Missing School, Missing Meals

Source: Times of India

Relevance: Covid-19 and its impact on the education sector

Synopsis: The education sector in India is under pressure from pandemic-related issues, as identified by a parliamentary committee on Education. Let’s have a brief look at issues in the education sector of India.

Context: Recently, the Parliamentary committee on education prepared a report on the impact of Covid-19 on India’s education system.

Findings of the report:

  • Some 24 crore children have missed school for over a year.
  • 77% of children have no access to online instruction.
  • In any case, ‘Online education is not real education.’
  • Dropouts have increased at the secondary level

Other issues in the education sector:

  1. Gender divide– There are more dropouts among boys than girls. Boys are abandoning school to earn a living – sometimes, after Covid, as their family’s chief breadwinner.
  2. Digital divide– The report admits the yawning digital divide that has deprived most children of instruction during the lockdown. Further, the benefits of online education are going to select few rich people.
  3. Effect on primary education– the batches of 2020 and 2021 have effectively not taken the first step towards literacy and numeracy, by enrolling in class 1. A large proportion of those enrolled earlier will not have acquired the skills or forgotten what they acquired.
  4. Effect on health and nutrition– physical growth and nourishment have been declining among India’s children for several years. The post-pandemic plight of the poor will multiply the damage. The Centre for Science and Environment estimates that 37.5 crore children might suffer weight and growth loss
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