The pandemic’s big disruption of schooling calls for close analysis

Source: The post is based on the article “The pandemic’s big disruption of schooling calls for close analysis” published in the Livemint on 7th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS – 2 – Issues relating to the development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education.

Relevance: About attaining universal elementary education.

News: Despite the enactment of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, a large number of children still continue to be out of the elementary education system.

How government is promoting elementary education?

With the aim of universalizing free and compulsory elementary education for all  India enacted the Right to Education (RTE) Act in 2009. The act holds local authorities responsible for a) Maintaining a record of children (up to the age of 14 years) residing in their jurisdiction, b) Ensuring that children are enrolled in schools and attending the same, and thereby on their way to completing their elementary education.

Read more: School education: Children and schooling in the post covid 19 era
Why children are still out of the elementary education system?

Multidimensional factors like poverty, disability, poor health, child marriage, child labour, migration, discrimination, and other children are not completing their elementary education.

Impact of a covid pandemic: According to the United Nations, about 24 million learners (from the pre-primary to university level) may never return to school globally.

India saw one of the longest periods of school closures (almost two years) during the pandemic compared to other countries in the world. India’s digital divide resulted in absenteeism from education. Inaccessibility to digital devices or the internet is the major hurdle. For instance, the proportion of children who ‘did not receive any online education’ ranged from 10% to 60%.

So, more children belonging to poorer households, lower caste groups and migrant households, apart from students with various disabilities, have been absent from online classes or have dropped out of school altogether.

Read more: ASER Survey and issues in school education – Explained, pointwise
What are the challenges in attaining universal elementary education?

a) India still lacks a clear picture of the status of out-of-school children in the aftermath of the pandemic in India, b) A comparison with pre-pandemic data highlights an increase in the percentage of children in the age cluster of 6-14 years who were not enrolled in any school during the pandemic, and c) Only a few studies have documented the unique challenges faced by children with disabilities and migrant-household children.

Read more: Year End Review 2021-Department of School Education & Literacy

India needs to analyse the concerns and minimize the challenges faced in accessing education in times of crisis.

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