Impact of Covid -19 on Education

Dr. Deepa Biswas

India is diverse in many areas, including its people, culture, and education. The year 2019 to 2021 has been difficult owing to the pandemic (COVID/Corona). Due to commodity supply gaps, changes in jobs, work types, education, industry skill demand/expectations, and other factors, it has had a significant impact on the country’s economy. It’s been difficult for people in many ways, notably in terms of living (jobs, food, home, education). The pandemic isn’t over yet. The question is how these pandemic years will affect the country’s education in general. India’s entire student population is estimated to be around 32 million. It has the world’s largest student body and practically covers the whole population of the United States. While most people’s lives are slowly returning to normal, students continue to be traumatized by the loss of their schools and colleges. Some of the schools began offering online education on their own. Later, there were protests because it could not be framed as a comprehensive solution for our country. It was halted and restarted under strict guidelines. However, internet education has yet to reach “ALL.” Proper digital infrastructure is required for online education (computer with internet connectivity). According to several data polls, barely 8% to 10% of the Indian population has access to appropriate digital infrastructure. As a result, the country has a significant digital divide (urban vs. rural). Even if there is internet access, an uninterrupted power supply is a problem in rural and metropolitan regions. Additionally, increased digital screen time for students has health implications. Yes, according to the government and educational boards, there are criteria for reduced curriculum study topics and suggested class hours per day. However, the difficulties persist. Due to financial restrictions, many students have begun working for a living as a result of the suspension of school education in numerous villages and suburban regions. This is a genuinely depressing situation. The overall learning level of students is being harmed as a result of this unavoidable long gap. Students are becoming disengaged from their topic knowledge. This disconnect will be visible in some cases, but not in all. This is causing a knowledge gap among pupils from various social strata, such as cities, towns, and villages.

So, what is a new choice? Opening schools, is it legal and secure? Do rural and urban schools have the facilities and resources to follow the government’s health guidelines? Do they have the necessary funds and resources? Some states in the country began offering regular schooling to some kids, resulting in COVID-related issues. It’s an ideal situation to begin schooling.

The closing of educational institutions affects 1.7 billion pupils in 190 countries. While advanced countries have the tools and methods to provide remote learning to their pupils, low-income countries faced several obstacles in doing so. According to UNESCO, high-income countries’ digital education offers reached 80% of the population, whereas only 50% of students in low-income countries received digital education. In most undeveloped and underdeveloped nations, unstable electricity supply, limited digital literacy, and a shortage of equipment were key barriers to digital education.

As a result, a large portion of the world’s population was unable to participate in online education. In India, as well, poor internet connectivity and low broadband penetration in semi-urban and rural areas hampered digital learning prospects. In India, private schools were more successful in adopting digital technology than government schools and the majority of lower-income schools.

Apart from learning outcomes, mental health is an often-overlooked facet of the Indian educational ecosystem. With the world’s highest rate of student suicide, India can no longer ignore this issue, especially with school closures. According to the ChildFund Survey, the majority of parents have noticed an increase in negative behavior in their children, and more than 60% of children have experienced behavioral changes such as increased aggression, impatience, and lack of attention.

When children return to school and struggle with worry and separation, mental health will become more crucial. The emotional well-being of those who live in tiny quarters with no contact with their classmates or teachers requires special attention.

Furthermore, the complete abolition of Early Childhood Care and Education during the COVID years will have far-reaching consequences for children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical requirements, affecting future learning results for the great majority. Inequity in educational access will almost certainly result in long-term income losses and a skilled workforce reduction. It will also influence intergenerational mobility, as disadvantaged groups would have even fewer educational options than in normal years.


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