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By Rajnandini Saxena Via UNICEF, Madhya Pradesh
Amid this pandemic, a very important fraction of our society has suffered immensely: students below the age of 18 attending online classes. The online education has proved to be more of a bane than a boon for students in India. The misery has reached disappointing heights.
Getting back to schools seems to be a fleeting dream for many in this scenario. Earlier in June, a 14-year-old from Kerala killed herself as she could not attend classes online. She did not have access to a computer or smartphone due to her family’s financial difficulties.
There is a genuine fear that children may drop out of schools due to the lack of internet access. Several reports also show a possibility of rise in girl child marriages due to the financial constraints this pandemic has brought up on many poor households. There is no doubt that COVID has infiltrated EVERYTHING in our lives. One word to describe children’s education right now is ‘disrupted’.
Researchers project that as schools reopen post COVID, roughly 66% of the students will lag in their reading skills, and 44% in math. It’s suggested that the reading gap may widen more.
Mental well being has also been impacted severely in children and adolescents even since the schools shut down. A study found that school closures are particularly disruptive for children in lower-income families. Those living in chronic stress might experience changes in the structure of their brain. Impaired cognitive skills and deficits can result in poor educational performance in students.
There’s no denying the fact that a child is inquisitive and the world of internet can easily become a place of unintended information from one of gaining useful information. Without constant parental guidance, there is hardly any stopping there. The world of texting, acronyms, and instant everything — is all they know. Platforms such as Snapchat, IG and YouTube have a huge influence in distant learning too. But, like everything else, there should be a safe limit in education as well, especially with school kids.
Immediate measures are essential, open-source digital learning solutions and Learning Management Software should be adopted so that teachers can conduct classes online. But more importantly, a way to provide online education to every child in this country should be the priority.
About the author: Rajnandini Saxena, 20, is pursuing Civil Engineering at Oriental Institute of Science and Technology, Bhopal.