The pandemic has hit us hard in such a way that even survival has become a struggle in today’s scenario. We are really cracking our heads for ideas to make us feel safe and protected from this pandemic. It is really heart-breaking to see the news of deaths and rising infection cases every day on news channels. It is making us realise the importance of our life each second.
Amid this situation, one of the important thought-provoking factors is: how has the educational system shaped up in rural areas during Covid-19? Are kids in rural areas getting equal facilitates to continue their education without any barrier or hassle, just like children in urban areas are?
I have been going through various news articles available on the internet and in newspapers, and I am really grief-stricken and saddened by the current condition of education in rural areas. A leading news portal brought out a survey on this important aspect and put forth the fact: “Children in rural areas have limited access to remote learning amidst Covid-19.”
Isn’t it heart-breaking! Education is an important pillar in an individual’s life to succeed. It is just like food and life to our brain and thinking process. We all are very much aware of the pros of education in an individual’s life, but what if this important part is snatched away due to some really hard force?
This survey by the news portal states that nearly 20% of the children in rural areas have no access to textbooks. A small percentage of children in almost every state in India has no access to any educational option, which accounts for a huge number when totalled at the national level. This becomes the reason for life getting disrupted or destroyed at a later stage in life. But what are we doing to overcome this? Have any steps been taken to overcome this devastating situation?
Having gone through various surveys and reports, I can sum up that due to the pandemic, houses with no internet connection, electronic devices (such as laptop/computer/phone or books are having a tough time coping with education, thus making it a real struggle to move forward in life. The kids are unable to learn and imbibe internal growth. They are unable to think differently. They see their future in darkness. They are not being able to cope up with others and face rejection from employers.
In many houses, 18 to 20-year-old students are the sole bread earners of their families. They are unable to find a good or even a decent job and have to settle for a minimal job just because of their incomplete educational degree due to the pandemic. Students are dying by suicide as they are not able to see any future.
I recently gave a motivational speech on the occasion of Children’s Day for a leading educational platform that works towards providing online education to children in rural areas. This is made possible by connecting teachers or individuals passionate about teaching to these kids. In an interaction with the children, I found that most of their friends and relatives in nearby rural areas are unable to connect with our platform or any other online education platform, and hence, have not received any education this year. Their studies are at halt since last year. Their families are not very well educated to guide them, and neither are they receiving any informal guidance from anyone else.
Upon asking what measures the kids are taking to overcome this halt, a 12-year-old child said, “Didi, kuch nahi kar paa re hai. Woh log aise hi ghar par hai kyunki un log ke paas koi vi upaye nahi hai. Phone agar rehta hai to bijli ke karan internet nai rehta. Aisa nahi hai ki padhne ka mann nahi hai, par halaton ke wajh se kuch kiya nahi jaa raha hai (Didi, they aren’t able to do anything. Those kids are sitting idle at home and have no idea what to do further. Even if they gave a phone in their home, there is no electricity to access the internet. It is not like they do not want to study, but because of the pandemic, there is nothing that can be done right now).”
These lines by a 12-year-old brought tears to my eyes, but I couldn’t show it in front of them as it would only have demotivated them instead of keeping their spirits high. I would like to appreciate all online educational platforms for doing a great job, but are these platforms able to get through the majority of the population? They are sincerely not.
I really believe and feel that if people are given authority, they will bring ideas and work through their resolutions virtually. Maybe then we’ll be able to cover up the situation bit-by-bit to reach a larger extent. These platforms can at least be deliver basic education options to cope up for the time being, so that a child’s future doesn’t get destroyed just like that.
We all need to fight in this together. I am working towards searching and accumulating all educational platforms to help reach out to those children who are unable to access the world through the internet. Their education as been interrupted and they are unable to mend ways to cope with this. I feel that education is an important aspect and this pandemic is not only destroying lives through infection, but also by snatching the basic needs of an individual.