Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted various sectors in India including aviation, retail, oil and gas, automobiles. We can hardly find a sector that has not been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown imposed to contain its spread. The same is the case with the education sector in India.
Here we are going to discuss the impact of coronavirus on education sector in India with schools in prime focus, the possible reasons behind it and we will also try to find out some possible solutions to the current problems that the schools, teachers and students are coping with.
IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS ON EDUCATION
It all started even before the lockdown was enforced in India in the third week of March, 2020 as the state governments had declared the schools, colleges and other educational institutes closed for a certain period of time from mid-March. The closure of schools was extended as the lockdown was declared soon. With the full lockdown, the education sector came to standstill initially. This has been an unfamiliar situation for all of us and nobody knows when the situation will get back to normalcy.
Physical classes have been suspended and exams at different levels have been postponed or cancelled. Class 10 and 12 exams of various boards as well as important entrance exams like IIT JEE and NEET have been delayed. The education boards have already cancelled the annual exams for primary and secondary students of class 1 to 8 and it has been also been implemented for class 9 and 11 students of some boards. The same applies to college students as well where the semester exams were scheduled to be conducted.
The lockdown has also widened the digital divide among students as digital education emerged as the clear winner during the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. The teachers are trying to teach the students with various online modes but they have not been trained to do anything of this sort and they are trying to deliver their best. But not all the students have computers at home and many may have limited or no internet access.
This pandemic has also resulted in people losing their jobs or taking pay cuts as the school owners are seeing a major cashflow crunch. Most of the schools conduct with a monthly fee structure and these payments are drying up. These conditions are forcing them to downsize or renegotiate their expenses. The hiring plans and increments are of course pushed as of now.
Another major concern is the dropout number of students in rural areas or from lower income groups who generally enroll their wards not only for elementary education but also for the access to midday meals. The parents may compel their kids to dropout and help support the family financially. Even the capable parents in urban spaces are facing difficulties as they have to help children setting up the e-learning methods at home, monitor them throughout and deal with the child’s tantrums and stress.
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO DEAL WITH THE CURRENT SITUATION
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone hard and schools are also not barred from its effect. We also understand that schools have always been places for real life, physical interaction for the students and online classes cannot substitute its environment. Examinations are also a concern that cannot be conducted from homes. But now is the time that we start inculcating the technology based solutions in our traditional methods of teaching as this might be a wakeup call that was needed. It is not a time to wait and let the turbulent times pass, but to rise and re-engineer this education sector that will benefit all its stakeholders.
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