Schooling in the time of Corona






 The coronavirus outbreak has grown into what we can call a health crisis of global proportions that threatens lives and brought in containment measures that disrupt our ways of living. According to the rough estimates of UNESCO, worldwide close to around 320 million students were locked out of school by the end of the year 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that India too had to go into a lockdown and consequently schools and colleges had to be closed.

This bought both relief and worries in equal measures. The books being replaced by mobiles and laptops, the notes being replaced by pdfs and much more. Though this new reformation in education medium brought comfort to some it also snatched away comfort from some others.  For the millions of children who were homeless, food insecure, without health care, school was often the one place where they felt safe and where they were taken care of. Spending hours in front of screens was not only health hazardous but also unaffordable for many. This system had affected poor people’s education the most. At times when even two square meal was hard to access, they were dependent on net connectivity and smartphones to carry on with their education. Though certain state governments like of Kerala and West Bengal made initiatives by starting online tuitions through television and by distributing smartphones and laptops to the needy, many were still there unattended in the crowd.

Now, in the post pandemic era, we can see that schools and colleges are reopening, and many are still sceptical regarding the safety of their children.  What is needed right now is proper hygiene and sanitisation. We are also witnessing a large drop out cases especially in rural areas.  To avert the large drop-out crisis, the states have been directed by the Union Education Ministry to launch a programme that would address the issue. Measures such as relaxation of the detention policy will go a long way in alleviating the anxiety of millions of students about their academic prospects not only now but in future as well. The education authorities must carry out a door-to-door survey to identify and enumerate students who are not in a position to return to classes when schools reopen and whose economic circumstances have changed due to the pandemic’s impact on their families.  The door-to-door survey will enable setting up a database, which will assist in drawing up plans to prevent students from dropping out owing to COVID-19 induced problems. The measures will have to be in the form of incentives that will prevent dropouts.

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