The word underprivileged did not gain its meaning until Covid-19 hit the education industry. Today all educational institutes, universities, colleges, even tuition teachers are conducting online classes to promote e-learning. Have you thought of the unprivileged ones whose parents work day and night to send them to a good school? COVID 19 impact on education and mental health of students is impending day by day.
Most of them do not even have electricity to survive hot summers. They somehow manage to give their children a basic education. These underprivileged people living in areas far from the city are finding it difficult to keep up with e-learning mode. Not only the entire country, but most part of the world is at home these days. A recent report from UNESCO has forecasted learning loss of about 290 million students across 22 countries.
The global lockdown has encouraged people to work from home. E-learning, for example, Telegram, iCloud, Zoom, Google Meet, are not accessible by the unentitled. While we compare online education depriving students, it’s not a challenge. State-wise the entire country is suffering from the COVID 19 impact on education sector. A majority of the population has no access to constant updates from colleges, universities, and educational institutions.
How Things Took Turn
Talking about West Bengal, colleges affiliated with the University of Calcutta have most of the students from remote areas. Teachers of the Calcutta university have conducted individual surveys to look for students who lack computers, laptops smartphones for online classes.
The apprehension towards digital education has given a big hit for those who have smartphones but lack good connectivity. Good connectivity costs more than transportation. These backward section students usually come from families with low income and not living in a 2 BHK flat in an elite community.
Teachers have shown generosity by offering data plans for a few students who somehow managed a smartphone. The education system needs to be responsive to learners. The laid back attitude will not provide a uniform solution. The crisis has glaringly exposed governmental setup and lack of backup.
Politics work on the mantra of “never lose an opportunity”. The bitter truth of no efficient practice in place has left the world vulnerable. This is to the extent that profound revelation of the so-called blanketed, deprived world is no more gaining attention. Whats exposed stays exposed.
It may shock you to learn – the electricity distribution scheme, Saubhagya Scheme has a 99.9% revelation regarding electricity distribution. Luminosity arises on how many households constantly receive the supply, the total number of hours, and consistency. On the other hand, the Ministry of Rural Development under the Mission Antodya Scheme is open on the statistics of distribution. Only 16% of Indian households receive 8 hours of electricity a day, whereas 47% receive more than 12 hours a day.
Education Require Direct Human Engagement
The desperate attempt of the Indian government to control the COVID-19 pandemic is now heading towards downfall. Eventually, someday the lockdown will not be here. Even though the chances of congregations and physical spaces allowing people to enjoy nature may still not be available.
Educational campuses may not allow 100% attendance unless cases go under a particular mark. Most of the colleges and Universities have students appearing for 10th 12th, final year students waiting for their campusing, third-year students waiting for the semester exams to get over.
In addition to it, a lot of unemployed individuals are hoping for the realization of promotion and offer letters. The graduation batches have suffered a great deal of anxiety when the semester dividend was declared as zero semesters. The immediate transition from a physical classroom to a virtual class on Zoom, Google meet is somehow difficult.
Although, the eventual progression did not stop education from reaching students. These attempts are meaningful. However, the core educational process is depriving the majority of students, who couldn’t attend virtual classes and could only afford sitting in a classroom at the expense of their family’s minimum income.
COVID 19 impact on education statistics shows only 24% of the entire population own a smartphone. How far does owning it helps cover complete education? Well, watching videos, putting up with attendance is still manageable. In the long run, examinations, research, and lengthy assignments won’t make it to the table. On the other hand, 11% own a computer laptop/ palmtop. Is this a fair number?
Coronavirus Created The Digital Division
Not only in India, but the majority of students worldwide also lack connections for the setup to conduct an online class or learn remotely. With growing news spreading across every media channel more and more nations have come forward to confront a similar reality. To cite a few case studies that I have been through, a family consisting of 4 members with a single smartphone has no idea how to conduct two different classes at the same time for two different children.
More so when one of the parents has to go to a distant work. The phone is the only mode of connection they have. Various other sectors which were previously considered online luxuries are transforming into daily necessities. Turned overnight, this has led to a gradual cutoff and an increased impact on education and students.
The COVID-19 impact on educational institutions has left a disparate impact on the rich and poor, the lower and the upper. The world is yet to confront a lot more difficulties than what has already been reported. If reports are to be believed about 770 million learners have been affected worldwide, as reported by the United Nations in China. About 60 to 80 million people lack the support of an Internet connection according to its government statistics.
No Device No Education India
Coming back to the COVID 19 impact on education India, nearly 16 lakh children from poor families and remote locations with a distracted educational life. Delhi government run by the Aam Aadmi Party has taken up an initiative in teaching students of class 12 via zoom classes.
However, the struggle still remains. Those without access to the virtual world are still looking up in the face of the government for security education and better provincial management. Students mostly in primary and middle schools are struggling. This is because of the lack of assignments. Students are finding it difficult to study mathematics and scientific subjects on WhatsApp, Telegram, and other such platforms.
Leaving the private schools, we have municipal schools in a much worse condition. The government has directed notification written on pen and paper to the school principals and teachers to take up initiatives and assign work virtually. The reality is here to shake you to the core. Some families who have somehow managed a smartphone have no idea how to use a virtual platform.
Parents going on essential service duties are bound to take phones being the only mode of connection. Delhi individually runs 45 schools with 30,000 students on the autonomous body of the ministry of home affairs. Under the Municipal Council, there are 1028 schools with 15 lakh students struggling on zoom classes.
Onslaught of online classes
Apart from a huge number of challenges thrown in the face of the population worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an onslaught of online classes. Let’s rewind to the day when all private schools decided to start classes online. Of course, parents were almost in a situation of a nervous breakdown and suddenly there was a shortage of a proper device – a phone or a computer.
On the other hand, the struggle taken up by the teachers, and the fear of losing track, the tiredness of constantly coping up with the new challenge every day is showing up on their faces. The entire situation is off unpreparedness, discomfort, and quite a traumatic one. There are chances the current situation will be worse if schools do not prepare for infrastructure logistics and devices during this lockdown.
There will not be classes where students will be sitting side-by-side adjusting five of them on a single bench, post lockdown. Social distancing will be truly in force. The non-accessibility of a device’s proper connection has led a lot of students to take a break from education. This is not to demean a school from the other but if private schools are struggling so much imagine how Government schools are coping up.
The government has taken up an initiative like television classes, community radio, the Diksha app so that education reaches the remotest area possible. The cost of taking up internet connectivity is one-side. Later come the wagging tail of purchasing a smartphone or another device that has left millions without food and water.
There are chances the lockdown may be lifted for some time and again brought into force. However online classes will be active. This initiative is to avoid the school crowd and ensure the maintenance of social distancing. With hundreds and thousands of migrants moving from state to state, country to country, and overseas – the spread of COVID-19 has not diminished yet.
Even if private schools open in some States the chances that rural schools will be opened are less. Virtual education will be in place, no matter what.. Sad but true. What the governments must look into are long term measures. Students deprived of the basics for online education should be given some relief to saturate their educational needs.
E-Learning – More Economical
In spite of the challenges, we cannot overlook the opportunity. The technological boost will not only help every child to focus individually without disturbance. It will avail interrogative sessions on a one-on-one basis with the teacher as and when required. If you compare a cost analysis of classrooms, accessible roads, transportation, study material, food water electricity in comparison to the cost incurred in online classes, of course, the latter is low.
Therefore e-Learning is for more economical in the long run. Rural students who can manage to access the virtual classes will benefit from teachers who conduct quality teaching from all over the country. This will also help rural students to have hands-on experience in technological tools and outweigh the little burden that rural education puts on students compared to private education.
This will also ensure no school dropouts for those who can continue to the virtual classes. The horizontal spread of education is proving to be the most economical way of education in most of the Latin American countries.
Need Of A Balanced Educational Model
No matter how privilege is helping a single section of the community is, there is no way we can overlook the majority of the sections losing basic necessities. To reduce the gap between rural and urban education a balanced educational model with equal training opportunities may act as a boon for the country. recent studies have talked about the partnership IBM is developing with Kimia education network.
This partnership is a generous aim to provide reflief from the COVID 19 impact on education in South Africa. This partnership is a public-private partnership model for developing countries. India can replicate a similar partnership model to build a bridge connecting the loopholes and deliver quality education. UNESCO along with other NGOs have provided helping hand to the developing countries for the betterment of the current situation.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development is currently prioritizing online learning and seeking support from the ministry of finance. However, organizations working towards a similar goal have suggested that better results can be used as if the Ministry of Human Resource Development partnered with the Ministry of Electronics and information technology along with the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship.
This will not only bring success in less time but also prove to be a Holistic approach to electronic learning. E-Learning should not only focus on education of content and images but it should be considering modes that are user-friendly. Moreover, the engaging thought process which is both skill-base and merit-based with a lot of regional content that can imbibe easily.
Global Initiatives – the impact of COVID-19 on global education and its solution
The impact of COVID-19 on global education and its solution has forced the government to build a model comfortable for both the teacher and the student. Schools should adopt appropriate practices to keep social distancing in place, safeguard vital services. Young people can be engaged in as a helping hand. Those who have managed a smartphone but not proper connectivity have reportedly attended classes on mountain tops, the only place they receive proper cellular signals.
Migrant laborers are finding it a hard time to balance work and childcare together. Companies such as Lark, a Singapore based collaboration has developed its own tool to meet exponential growth. This tool is named ByteDance which is now offering students and teachers an opportunity to conduct unlimited video conferencing, real-time editing of project work, and a better way to schedule classes.
On the other hand, Alibaba’s solution towards distance learning DingTalk is in progress to support remote work. Alibaba’s self-built platform, Alibaba Cloud will be housing more than 1 lakh server setting a record of rapid capacity expansion. The famous media house BBC has powered its own virtual learning platform, bitesize daily, which has been recently launched on the 28 of April. This platform is allowing children of the United Kingdom to have curriculum-based learning from celebrities.
The Bottom Line
The COVID -19 impact on education industry has left the current scenario with uncertainties. It is constantly shifting to a new mode, with improvements discovered until recently. With insufficient bandwidth, no preparation, no training, education is heading towards a poor experience that will be acting as a restraint in sustained growth. Researchers have suggested a hybrid model in the system of education.
It may pool significant benefits. It is high time information technology integration receives appraisal. This acceleration will make online education, not only made mandate but is an integral component of schooling. Various universities across the globe have already transitioned, for example, Asian University has already offered 5000 plus courses to be completed online in a span of two weeks.
Many of us have heard about Coursera which offers online education and certification courses. Imperial College London is providing a selective course on the science of coronavirus which has been recently launched on Coursera. This year opportunities are many challenges are even more. The pandemic is all set to widen the digital divide however let’s focus on what keeps us motivated.