The outbreak of the coronavirus is a major crisis facing the post-World War II world. The crisis has affected all aspects of human life. The disease should not be caused by the lack of antibiotics, so the only option now is to take preventive measures. Therefore, efforts are underway in all countries to control the disease, depending on the policy of lockdown. The uncertainty created by this situation has created an atmosphere of fear around the world.
The global and national economies are reeling from the recession and unemployment. Due to the stagnant economy, a handful of hardworking people have migrated from the city to the villages and starved to death, either because of Corona; this working class is stuck in this dilemma. The world is gripped by fears that the Sino-U.S. economic power struggle could take the form of a ‘biological war’.
The centres of global power are shifting from Europe to the Americas to Asia. The forced emptiness and loneliness caused by lockdown has led to family-social-mental health problems. Many countries have also closed educational institutions to prevent corona.
According to a UNESCO report, in April 2020, 154 crore students in 188 countries were at home. 1.5 million schools are closed in India. As a result, 26 crore students and 89 lakh teachers are sitting at home, while 50,000 institutions of higher learning are closed and 3.70 crore students and 15 lakh college teachers are sitting at home. It is a time bomb for 30 crore students to sit at home empty-handed.
Currently, coronary heart disease is considered to be the only health problem, but it is also important to note that this crisis is on the side of educational problems.
It is not possible to overcome the present problems by entertaining the masses in the virtual world of the past by showing serials like Ramayana, Mahabharata on television to alleviate the emptiness and loneliness of the people.
UNESCO has instructed its member countries to take immediate action on the issue of out-of-school students.
The disruption in education is depriving children of their right to education, according to UNESCO. Through the media, like distance learning, use of information technology, YouTube, Hangouts, multimedia, mobile phones, e-library, television, many countries have initiated such initiatives so that children’s education should not be disrupted immediately. In India, however, decisions are being taken only to cancel exams, postpone exams, and admit children to the next class without taking exams.
Given the uncertainty of the situation, India also needs to formulate a long-term education policy. In India, information technology is widely used in higher education and in vocational courses such as medicine, engineering, commerce and management. Laptops, internet etc. are available as the students are financially advanced. The cost is affordable for them. So the study, mainly of small groups of an elite class, is going online. The same experience is in school education.
The children of the upper-middle class, who are going to a five-star school with all the facilities, are also getting an online education. The problem is that they are a minority and the majority of them are hardworking, poor class children. Nomadic, tribal, rural boys or girls go to the government or subsidized schools. Information technology has a lot of scope to spread education, expand education, quality of education, increase educational opportunities.
According to TRAI, the number of Internet users in India in 2020 is 68.45 crore. The number of mobile phone users is 48.82 crore. So, the number of smartphone users with internet is 40.72 crore. The number of TV viewers is 76 crore. Although this information technology seems to have expanded, there is a huge disparity. In India, 53% of the population uses the Internet. This means that half of India is deprived of the benefits of the Internet.
In rural areas, 36% of the population and in urban areas, 64% of the population use the Internet, while 67% of men and 38% of women use the Internet in India. Information technology is now being monopolized by the urban, affluent, and men. The benefits of the government projects namely ‘National Digital Library’, ‘Swayam’, Shodh Ganga etc. are limited. The online education of the project includes the cost of a computer, internet cost, power supply etc.
There are major difficulties. So online education is affordable to the affluent class in the chain city. The situation is similar in many underdeveloped countries. So those countries have started using TV medium more during school closures. In India, however, there is no simple discussion of such a scheme.
There are more than nine hundred channels in India and some steps need to be taken by the education department on how to use these channels for students sitting at home.
Lockdown has created a lot of problems for Indian students and their parents who have gone abroad for education. Indian students abroad are under pressure due to poor curriculum schedule, financial stress, visa deadlines, job insecurity, repayment of tuition loans, etc. Some foreign universities are trying to use the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, artificial intelligence, robotics as an alternative during this period.
However, a lot of students are still stuck abroad in crisis. It will take time for the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Human Development to come up with a plan to help them.
It is important to make sure that the student’s study is not interrupted. The Central and State Governments should immediately plan how the education of the children of this community will continue uninterruptedly during the school days keeping in view the children of the toiling masses. In a city with a metropolis like Mumbai, today there are roads, providing education to deprived children.