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Home / 'Fatal' Effects Of School Closures Across India - Survey

'Fatal' Effects Of School Closures Across India - Survey
In India, there is a ‘catastrophic’ situation in the educational system of students due to the closure of primary and upper primary schools...

by Himani Verma / 16 Sep 2021 11:42 AM IST / 0 Comment(s) / 95

In India, there is a ‘catastrophic’ situation in the educational system of students due to the closure of primary and upper primary schools during the pandemic period, most importantly in the rural parts of the country.



As per the latest survey "School Children’s Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL)" done on Online and Offline School’s Learning by the researchers in coordination with economist Jean Dreze, 37% of rural children have stopped studying. Also, the ‘Emergency Report on School Education’ says only 8% of school students in rural areas have been able to access the present online education process.



There are many reasons for the ‘catastrophic’ impact of school closures across India. But according to the survey the main three consequences are as follows -



Limitations of Online Education Learning:



From the SCHOOL survey, it is very clear that online education is not within reach of every child. For example, in urban areas, only 24% of the school students are studying regularly whereas in rural areas the proportion of school students who are regularly studying is 8%.



One of the main reasons for this is that almost half of the households (many in rural areas in our country) have no smartphones. The report is based on 1,362 sample households across the 15 States, including Delhi, Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.



As per the survey reports, children of Dalit and Adivasi were at the greatest disadvantage as only around 5% of the children had accessed the online classes.



Another reason for the limitation of online education is that generally, working adults have smartphones in households in the country. Individuals can’t share their smartphones with school children as they have to take their phones to workplaces or other reasons.



Relationship between the teachers and children:



Also, there is the reason why education has “catastrophic consequences” in this pandemic period is the relation between the teachers and students. During the survey, 51% and 58% of the respondents in the urban and rural areas said they had not met teachers during this period. And many teachers left their comfort zones to help their students in their studies during this period.



Midday Meals:



Other than education, the closure of the schools across the country also affected nutrition levels among the rural school children as midday meals have been discontinued. As the schools in the sample states are closed, midday meals are also stopped. Among the children studying in the government schools, about 80% of them had been receiving food (mainly wheat or rice) as a substitute for midday meals in the order of three months.



How to reduce the damage?



According to the SCHOOL Survey report, many parents support the idea of reopening schools as soon as possible. Overall, 97% of the parents are in favor of school opening. Still, in urban areas, 10% of parents are hesitant in sending their children to school. The reports said that if schools lockdown continues for a long time, this will result in “colossal disaster.”



Conclusion:



As per the Researchers, it will take years of patient work to repair this catastrophic impact. The very first step is, of course, reopening of schools at the earliest. But still, until now, this step is being discussed. Also, in many states, there are no signs of preparation for opening schools like issuing safety guidelines, repairing school buildings, enrollment drives, training teachers, etc.



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