The blank pages in India’s online learning experience (GS-3 The hindu editorial)

COVID-19 pandemic impact can be seen in the social, economic and political spheres. 

Education has been impacted much.

    • Around 300 million children across all age groups has been reported to be out of school in India. Effect is much worse, especially on the education of the girl child.
    • Challenges faced by education sector 
      • Delivery of education especially of pedagogical processes, classroom assessment frameworks, students’ support and teacher-student engagement.
      • poor access to digital data
      • The children were over burdened with household/farm work
      • girl students in particular were apprehensive of being given away in marriage.
      • students, parents and teachers were unprepared for the pedagogic shift.
    • What Government must do: Realistic assessment is key
      • Assessment of those students who have returned to schools after ‘digital learning’ at home.
  • What is the challenge during COVID-19?
  • School closures have had a significant impact on the vulnerable and underprivileged sections.
    • postponement of examinations and the curtailment of the prescribed syllabi.

 Government’s response

  • sharing free e-learning platforms
  • Diksha portal:an app by the National Council of Educational Research
  • e-learning content aligned to the curriculum, and e-Pathshala, and Training for Classes 1 to 12 in multiple languages.
  • SWAYAM portal: aimed at school (Classes 1 to 12) and higher education
  •  1,900 complete courses including teaching videos, computer weekly assignments, examinations and credit transfers,.
  • SWAYAM Prabha:telecasting of educational programmes
  • 32 devoted directly to home channels to the. 
  • such initiatives have failed to take into account existing divides
  • spatial, digital, gender and class

 

The impact is multi-fold

  • Due to closure of schools
    •  boys became inattentive to studies
    • Girls were more involved in household chores with lesser opportunities.
    • children have also forgotten what they learnt earlier.
    • disruption of a range of activities such as the mid-day meal scheme, the school health programme and pre-metric scholarships to girl children. 

Example of Rajasthan

  • According to NSS,2017-18-> 20% of girls in the age group 15-16 were out of school against the national average of 13.5
  • Lok Jumbish and Shiksha Karmi projects
  • A study by the Institute of Development Studies in Jaipur
    • most girls in Rajasthan (between 13-16 years) were keen to return to school
    • the online education plan and platform of the State government did not work.
  • The reasons for pitfall
    •  The inability of students to access online education were
      • lack of devices
      •  poor or no Internet connectivity
      • girls’ preoccupation with household

NGO activities as a contrast

  • schools run by the NGO sector did well 
    • Taking care of the poor and backward segments
    • Here teachers have visited individual students at home.
    • children were taught in small groups.

What the Government must do.

  •  Education planning must be context and content specific, gender responsive and inclusion of all.
  •  access to online education,
  • removal of barriers in pre-matric scholarships
  • Ensure that mid-day meals, iron and folic acid tablets must be distributed.
  • provision of personal hygiene products to girl students 
  • re-enrolment of children as specified in the National Education Policy 2020. 
  • Mass outreach programmes with civil society to encourage re-enrolment. 
  • Remedial tuitions and counselling are advisable
  • making secondary education for girls free
  • governments has to keep the budgetary share of education to 6% of GDP

Download Link - Daily Current Affairs 22th February 2021

Swarn Singh

Plutus IAS Current Affair Team

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