Vignesh explores the present and the post COVID scenario with respect to impact on the education.
‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.’- Malcolm X Today when our country is facing the pandemic of Covid-19 there have been a lot of debates discussions and analysis on how pandemic and lockdowns would impact health care sector, how the pandemic and lockdowns would impact Agriculture sector and how the pandemic and lockdowns would impact Industrial sector. Have we ever given a thought on what impact the lockdown would have had on Education system? Have we ever discussed what impact the lockdown would have in regards with students who had examination in the month of April and May? What about those students who were to get campus placements and packages worth lakhs in the month of April and May? Let’s analyse the impact of Covid -19 and lockdown in the education system and education infrastructure of India.
Amid this pandemic Majority of the Schools and Colleges across the country have followed online education. The lectures of students happen online on regular basis. The question which would come to everyone’s mind is would online education be able to completely compromise the class room system? The answer is No. The main reason being we need to understand that a teacher explaining a student face to face would have a much better impact in regards with understanding. What about subjects such as mathematics Physics and Logic Subjects which require a huge amount understanding? One of the member magistrate of the Uttar Pradesh state’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC), said that not only schools and teachers; parents are also not prepared to handle online learning.
A major challenge in regards with online education is in regards with students of rural areas and students who do not have much financial support. The students who do not have much financial support or are economically backward cannot understand or avail the facility of Online Education. The question which arises is would these students have adequate device to avail the facility of Online Education? Would these Students who are economically backward have high speed Wi-Fi or constant internet? The answer is no. The next important aspect is would all teachers be comfortable with giving online lectures? What about those teachers who are not much aware and used to technology? Another major issue which is for sure been a huge concern is privacy and security concerns. There is no specific legislations which have been incorporated in India in regards with Data Protection. There had even been an Advisory issued by Ministry of Home Affairs on avoiding the use of zoom app due to privacy issues. The issue of privacy and security would apply to each and every application and security concerns of the same yet remain a biggest concern and challenge?
The biggest challenge rise with people living in rural areas. Government’s Saubhagya Scheme assured the fact that almost 99.9% of homes India will have a power connection however The Ministry of Rural Development in 2017-18 launched Mission Antyodaya in which they conducted a survey and its findings were 16% of India’s households received one to eight hours of electricity daily, 33% received 9-12 hours, and only 47% received more than 12 hours a day. (1)
According to the 2017-’18 National Sample Survey report on education, only 24% of Indian households have an internet facility. While 66% of India’s population lives in villages, only a little over 15% of rural households have access to internet services. For urban households, the proportion is 42 %.(1)
Around 8% of all households within the age group of five and twenty four years have both a computer and an internet connection. A household with a device or internet facility does not necessarily imply that the connection and devices are owned by the household according to National Sample Survey. There is a huge digital divide in India lets analyse some statistics within the twenty percent of poor household only 2.7 percent have access to computer and 8.9 percent have access to internet facility. At the same time if we look at top 20 households the proportion is 27.6 percent and 50. 5 percent. (1)
The difference in regards with Access to Computer is huge proportion of households with access to a computer is 35% in Delhi and in 23.5% in Kerala however it is as less as 4.6% in Bihar. The margin of difference is very high in case of internet access.. The proportion of household having access to internet in States like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal is around 20 percent. The proportion of household having access to internet in states like Delhi, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand is 40 percent. (1)
Indian Economy’s is estimated on increase of unemployment from 8.4% in mid-March to 23% in early April and the urban unemployment rate to 30.9%.Considering Education system is in standstill the placement cells of major education institutions are unable to offer placement as the firms in various sectors are reluctant to recruit new employees. The main reason is firms are unsure whether they would be earning that much revenue to pay their new employees. Majority of the students are yet to give their semester exams. The major question lies is how is it going to be conducted especially for the ones in final year? What about the students who are have their pending board exam papers? The Ministry of HRD has given tentive dates. The question yet lies will it be conducted at that time.
One very important thing we need is Education Policies at the time of pandemic. Online Education cannot provide education to every student especially the once who live rural areas due to lack of infrastructure. Online education does not fulfil Article 21-A of our constitution completely. One of the long term solutions in regard with this issue is having special provisions for education during the pandemic in National Education Policy. There must a special committee to be set up for its implementation. However one can hope with time issues in regards with Education will resolve.
– Vignesh Narayanan,
Writer, Bharat Bhagya Vidhata.
- Protiva Kundu, Indian education can’t go online – only 8% of homes with young members have computer with net link, Scroll.in, May 05 2020, https://scroll.in/article/960939/indian-education-cant-go-online-only-8-of-homes-with-school-children-have-computer-with-net-link.