Crisis of education in India in times of Pandemic

  • Covid-19 hit the poor and marginalised the most. A similar but less noticed deprivation is being visited to children of the same people, which may push the next generation in a direction of even greater comparative disadvantage.
  • Digital Divide: According to the Indicators of Household Social Consumption on Education in India report, less than 15% of rural Indian households have Internet connection (as opposed to 42% urban Indian households).
    • Those with no access to the internet are still excluded from quality learning. Further, classes at times get disturbed due to connectivity issues.
    • As per NSSO data, only 4.4% of rural households and 23.4% of urban households have computer/laptop.
  • Difficult for parents to adjust to the online system. Parents complain of increased screen time for children, aren’t comfortable with technology themselves and increased pressure from the added household work due to the absence of domestic help adds to their problem.
  • Gender divide:Increased domestic responsibilities especially for girls is impairing the atmosphere of learning. According to a recent UN report, only 29% of all internet users are female, which indicates that transitions to digital learning may compound the gender gap in education.
  • Lack of vernacular content:Most of the content and existing lectures on internet are in English. In India, the Ministry of HRD data shows that there are only 17% English medium schools.
  • Creating new inequality:Only a handful of private schools, universities and IITs could adopt online teaching methods. Their low-income private and government counterparts, on the other hand, have completely shut down for not having access to e-learning solutions.
  • No inclusive:Issues of rural students, tribal children are not same. Not everyone can be onboarded to digital learning. Needs of these children must be thought of and a comprehensive learning policy must be made.