Pandemic's impact on Education

 The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the lifestyle of everyone completely. Laptop and Smartphone screens have replaced the chalk and blackboard of the classrooms since the announcement of lockdown in March 2020. This transition from offline to online learning was not a simple task for the students as well as the teachers. 

Online Classes: The new way of education 

Initially the task was to learn to use the online medium for education purposes. Some teachers and students faced certain difficulties in handling technology. It also increased the responsibility of the parents especially in the case of small children who could not handle online classes without guidance of their parents. As this new way of learning was being freshly introduced, some batches of students faced a delay in their academic year. This led to a lot of confusion regarding cancellation or postponement of exams. It is also extremely difficult for students to understand the practical concepts which require a lab. 

One of the major problems of online learning is Digital Divide. Every student does not have access to the digital world, which disrupts their learning process. According to a survey by the National Council of Educational Research and Training in the schools of India, 27% students don’t have access to smartphones, laptops or computers. In many remote areas, proper internet connectivity is also not available to attend the classes. 

Due to the worsening financial conditions like unemployment and low income in households, the dropout rates of school students are increasing, especially among girls. Many leave their education to support the family financially. A number of professors and teachers have expressed their concern over this issue and the main fear is that they may never rejoin school after the pandemic. 

The Mid-Day Meal scheme in the government schools was one of the important ways for the students to get nutritious food, especially for the students from the low income families. Mid day meal provision also led to an increase in the enrolment of students in schools. Due to lack of physical access to schools they are facing a loss of nutrition. 

Long exposure to screens has impacted their vision and mental health. It has increased the problems like headache and stress. Lack of face-to-face doubt clearance leaves the students confused. It has also impacted the student’s daily routine where they were physically active. According to UNICEF’s data released in March 2021, 888 million children worldwide, including 247 million in India, continue to face difficulty in learning due to closure of schools. 

But every cloud has a silver lining, and online classes too have their own benefits. It has opened up new ways of digital learning that connects people globally through webinars, online certification courses, etc. The number of webinars conducted for students in schools and colleges has increased over the last year. Initiatives such as educational programmes on television and radio were promoted to help the children learn in an easy manner. 

However, the problems faced by those who cannot access digital learning needs to be addressed. Initiatives that can help them to cope up with this loss of education needs to be promoted. Education is an integral part of development which should not be compromised.

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