Is the school education system of India in huge trouble?
Image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay
In his recent visit to India, the Global Director for Education of the World Bank Jaime Saavedra stated how there is a huge crisis in the school education sector of India due to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. According to his statistics, the learning poverty in India has increased from 54% to 70%. The learning poverty defined by the World Bank is the inability of the children to get the least reading ability and this has been linked with the percentage of children who have dropped out of school.
The Indian education sector is going through a big crisis in recent times due to the high dropout rates. In 2021 report released by the government of India showed how the yearly dropout rate of secondary school students was 14.6%. India has a huge population of children and thus, from the views of Saavendra, we can note how the coronavirus pandemic's effect on school closures has a severe impact on the children of the country who have become a part of the world crisis. Earlier as well, there was inequality in access to education that has increased drastically due to the pandemic.
The long months of lockdowns to stop the spread of the coronavirus has made India the second country in the world to have long school closures after Uganda. As per the estimate by UNESCO, the school closure has impacted almost 250 million children in 1.5 million schools in India. Girl children have been more badly impacted than boys with school dropout rates being more in female children already in India. As per the report, it is seen that school dropouts are leading to an increase in child labor and human trafficking for children with more cases of child marriage and trafficking for girls.
We are already aware of how 70% of the country does not still have internet access and when the 2020 lockdown was imposed, schools started adopting online methods of learning for its children. The huge economic distress and challenging methodologies of learning are making things more complicated than simpler. As per a survey, 37% of children living in rural areas are not studying and only 8% of students are getting access to online mode of learning. The percentage is higher in the community of Dalits and Adivasis where 43% of children are not studying at all.
It can be noted how the digital divide has impacted girls more than boys as the smartphones are mostly owned by males in the family like brothers, and fathers than the girls' children. So, asking for access to online classes is also a big thing for girl children. Also, domestic responsibilities make it difficult for girls to attend online classes from their homes.
It is obvious that the government needs to come to terms with the reality and make changes in their approach to control the damages done by the coronavirus pandemic to the school education sector. Although it will need huge investments in government and public school systems to solve the education crisis, if the future has to be bright for the youngsters, then efforts have to be made.