For the past one and a half years, we have seen our fast-paced life stopping into a halt, all thanks to the Covid – 19 pandemic, which affected the entire world ranging from the so-called “superpower” United States of America to our country India as well.
In this article, we will be discussing one of the most adversely affected sectors from Covid – 19, that is education. As of writing this answer, India has administered more than 90 crores vaccination doses to its citizens, which is itself a feat. Moreover, as the number of active cases gradually decreases, several states have allowed the reopening of schools in a phased manner.
Among the students, there are two divisions, one consisting of the majority of poor students; on the other hand, we have the students who don’t have to worry when it comes to money. Covid-19 mainly affected students who were not so well financially, as they did not have the opportunity to compete with their wealthy counterparts. The more affluent students had an adequate support system i.e., smartphone, high-speed internet network, etc., when the entire system of teaching went online due to the pandemic.
When the states issued the Standard of Procedures for resuming physical classes, the emphasis was laid on health rather than learning. It was also due to the fact that in India, no vaccine is being administered to minors at the moment; however, trials are still undergoing for the development of such vaccines.
Principles to be followed
- Equity – The poor and the disadvantaged should also be given equal opportunity.
- Communication with parents- It is equally important for the teachers to understand the present situation for the welfare of their child.
- Reorganize syllabus- The previous syllabus cannot be helpful in the present context given the paucity of time.
- Hire & Train teachers- In order to bridge the gap, additional teachers can be hired to cover the new portion.
- Additional funding- The government need to understand the need of the hour and increase expenditure on education
In many surveys conducted on the effect that Covid-19 has caused on education, it can be seen that there were increased numbers of dropouts. Out of which most of them were girls, 25% of the students studying in private schools before covid were forced to study in the government school under the new scenario post Covid-19.
During covid, the students have lost their learning capacity as their environment which promoted this learning in schools were replaced by the environment at home. As a result, we need to make suitable changes in order to bridge the gap to enhance the learning of children.
Among the learning skills, it is the language skills that was hampered the most as this skill is based on the social interaction that one does in its social surrounding. Their analytical skills were also affected, causing the children to lack in the subject of mathematics.
What can be done?
Whether Covid-19 will exist in the future or not will depend on human behavior. We cannot control the external agents that are beyond our control; we can certainly learn to adapt according to the changing surroundings. Adapting is the reason why the species of homo sapiens have been able to survive throughout these years.
We need to focus on bringing back the learning abilities of the children that were compromised during this pandemic. It is not the time to push the children into rot learning; instead, the changes in the syllabus should be made accordingly so that the pressure on the teachers is reduced and there is no hurry to complete the syllabus. Also, the emphasis should be on learning skills such as languages and mathematics. The aspect of socio-emotional learning which were missing during the period of online classes should be taken care of while making suitable changes in the curriculum. Also, we need to include the help of social support in the form of volunteers and inviting retired teachers.
In the end, we need to understand that there is a need for a drastic change in the approach we have adopted for education. We need to adopt the “coaching mode” where there is socio-emotional support by the teachers to the students, and interaction should be the key. There is a need for reform to carry out the paradigm shift from “quantitative learning” to “qualitative learning.” We can only hope that this is one of the few positive outcomes that Covid-19 has produced.