School education: Children and schooling in the post covid 19 era

News: The pandemic has exposed the limits of the Nation’s capacity to look after the collective needs of children. It proved that society and state ignored the conditions under which family copes with the demand of childhood.

What was the impact of the Covid pandemic on children?

Right to education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan created infrastructure and systems for universalization of education. Various studies suggest that pandemics exposed fragile systems and structures of education. Even the provision of meals for young children was stopped. Teaching switched to online mode. All these deeply impacted the children

A survey by Vipla foundation revealed that the Majority of children from lower social-economic backgrounds could not access online teaching. For the ones that could access it, the reach of comprehension and progress were low.

Read more: ASER Survey and issues in school education – Explained, pointwise
What are the challenges faced by the recovery plan?

A committee was set up by Tamil Nadu under professor R Ramanujam highlighted various challenges:

-Online education has an addictive effect on young children. This would require De-addiction from the digital world and reconnecting to the physical world.

-Digital activism and its ideology have deeply penetrated the minds of children. This would require counselling of children, teachers and even family members.

-There has been a large-scale shift of children from private schools to government schools owing to economic reasons.

Read more: The decline of the Budget school
What should be the way forward?

Inspiration can be taken from the UNESCO report titled “no teacher, no class “. This report suggests that India is facing a shortfall of at least 1 million schoolteachers. So, the first step is to improve the terms of employment of teachers in both public and private schools and encourage the profession of teaching.

Must read: Long term Impacts of School Closure – Explained, pointwise

Source: This post is based on the article “Children and schooling in the post Covid-19 era” published in The Hindu on 10th December 2021.

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