Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Education System: Challenges to overcome

COVID-19 has literally paralyzed the education system in all underdeveloped and developing countries. India is no exception. The seismic wave of petrifying Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Education System is being sensed at every single corner across the country. Let’s discuss on the Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Education System: Challenges to overcome.

Education is not only a single-layered definition of learning, rather a multidimensional tool for upliftment of conscience of a nation. When education is stopped, the moral of millions of students get hit. The initial impact on students is exorbitantly severe, as the negative impact becomes a chain reaction to produce millions of under skilled workforce to hit the economy of the country in an exponential curve.

Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Education System Challenges to overcome

Impact of COVID-19 on Indian Education System Challenges to overcome

The pandemic has exposed our un-preparedness to deal with the emerging crisis in the education system. Let’s learn

Impact on School and College Students

Policymakers decided to suspend all school and college activities to maintain social distancing norms to save the people in the country. Life was prioritized over education. To be precise, there were no other options left. The hard realities of the suspension of education system started to haunt after a few months. Academic year loss would affect career and mental well being of millions of students thereafter.

The Rapid Shift Towards e-learning

The teachers and students are shifting from the traditional chalk and board method to live video classes over electronic devices.

Database learning is being widely adopted by institutions around the country. Database learning is the methodology where the contents are delivered through video, animation and text and enables the students to access them at their suitable time through a particular link, application or website. It is flexible as well as a time convenient approach for the students and as well as their parents

Challenges to Overcome

  • Regional Disparity: There is a huge regional disparity among the students. Accessibility of the internet and technology is higher in urban India. Accessibility and affordability of the Internet and technology in remote Indian villages are just a drop in the bucket.

Let’s have a look at these data

  • Only 4% of households own a computer in rural India.
  • 23.4% of households own a computer in urban India.
  • Less than 15% of rural Indian households have internet access.
  • 42% of urban Indian households have internet access.           

Source: National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) 2017-18 report

  • Gender inequality: Girls are becoming vulnerable in patriarchal households and getting obliged to handle increased domestic responsibilities in absence of schools and colleges.
  • Lack of resources and skilled teachers in rural India: Now let’s focus on the infrastructure, resources and educators in rural India, the only answer we would get is the inefficiency and lack of adaptation among the educators themselves. If the teachers are not ready, then how would they prepare students?
  • Increased e-learning platforms could be efficient in urban India, but still, it is far away from communicating the various dialects, varied contexts and different moral lessons that are executed in physical classrooms in an efficient way. Besides, there is a little scope for building an emotional bonding between students and educators on the e-learning platform.
  • Increased screen-time is becoming a genuine threat to the physical and psychological health of the students.
  • Education does not only mean learning through pen and paper mode, but education also contains sports, extracurricular activities which are not possible under the electronic platform.

E-learning is efficient to a limited extent but it should be noted that E-learning can never be the medium of the universal pursuit of knowledge. Intellectual socialization is also being compromised under E-learning.

Initiatives Taken by the Government of India

There is a programme which was launched in 2019 by the Department of School Education and Literacy to improve learning outcomes at the Elementary level through an Integrated Teacher Training Programme called NISHTHA or National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of Samagra Shiksha in 2019-20.

The training of the teachers under this programme also includes ICT in teaching-learning including Artificial Intelligence. 

So now after the pandemic, the programme itself has gained significant importance and should be executed in a more inclusive and time-bound manner.

Ways Forward

  • Management of digital division and resources through comprehensive guidelines in the various parts of the country.
  • There should be a sophisticated, blended and shaped approach towards socio-tech engagement of students.
  • There should be an extra provision in the education budget only for the training of the educators to increase their technology adaptability.
Do you Know?
  • Almost 320 million learners in India have been adversely affected and got involved in the e-learning platform, which comprises a network of 1.5 million students across the country.
  • Now here is an alarming fact: NSSO 2014 report stated that almost 32 million children were already out of school before the pandemic the majority of them are from socially backward class.

Conclusion

It is to be noted that Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan or Education for All Movement was formulated by former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the universalization of primary education through the 86th Amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory education to children between the ages of 6 years to 14 years. But the pandemic not only unstabilized the fundamental aim of primary education but also exacerbated the prolonged disparity among students on the basis of region and economical condition.

Hence, India needs to start from scratch to revive the paused rhythm of the education system in the country. Indian policymakers must emphasize the policies that curtail the digital divide and push the country closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

—-Confucius

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