By Kaustov Kashyap
The second wave of the corona is gradually winding down. Life is reverting to normalcy. Industry-business has started running smoothly only by crawling. Efforts are also being made to restore the economy. People are creating plans for the future while ignoring past losses, yet, in front of the mass of the population, there is a matter of saving and sustaining livelihood, which is impossible to resolve under the current circumstances. So no, but it appears to be extremely difficult.
Amid all the crises, the crisis prevailing on an important area looks unscathed by the concern and discussion of the people, but it is very reasonable to talk about it.That area is the domain of education, notably primary and secondary school education. Corona has ruined the country’s public education system, as well as strengthen economic, social, and gender inequities in an area already riddled with anomalies and injustices. Passing the pupils without passing the exam may appear to be the acceptable approach at the time, but in the age of competition, the consequences will undoubtedly be unpleasant in the future.
In our country, we have a variety of educational systems that can be split into two categories: first, government-funded educational institutions, and second, privately-funded educational institutions. There are both residential and non-residential government schools in government educational institutions, such as KendriyaVidyalayas and NavodayaVidyalayas. The disparity between them in terms of education and still children’s achievements is obvious. When it comes to private educational institutions, there are a variety of options, including English medium schools connected with CBSE, ICSE, and other accrediting bodies, as well as schools affiliated with state boards.
Private educational institutions were almost non-existent in India prior to 1991. Education was not a lucrative business, and governments were reluctant about establishing and recognizing private schools. But, Economic reform and the greater influence of capitalism over time, privatization began to have an impact in this area as well, and now, private schools can be found on almost every street.
Now, Education is a billion-dollar business. People encourage their children to choose a career path by selecting an appropriate school based on their financial capacity. It’s obvious that the more jaggery you put in, the sweeter you’ll get; in other words, the more you pay, the better the facilities and education you’ll get. The difference between India and Indian in these schools can be seen clearly. This explanation is provided so that it is evident that education is riddled with disparities. This, however, will be examined in considerable depth later.
Schools and colleges were first closed in March 2020 as soon as Corona cases came to the fore. On March 24, 2020, an unexpectedly strict lockdown was announced across the country. The new academic year about to begin in April in most states, however, due to the lockdown, neither schools nor admission to the new session can actually happen. The process of opening schools commenced in December but was phased in, however, due to the second wave, the schools were closed again in March 2021.
Schools have been closed since then, and the second consecutive academic session is currently on the edge of being cancelled. Due to two consecutive academic sessions being cancelled, the private schools, especially schools run with small capital, have suffered a financial setback.
The concerned section of these schools is the same, which has lost its employment-work-business in this corona period. When there is a lack of food in the house, the issue of depositing the fee becomes inconsequential. If the data are collected, it would be revealed that most private schools have shuttered as a result of Corona, with teachers on leave. Suicides by teachers and administrators have also been reported in some areas.For anyone, the two-year closure of a business can be a trigger of depression. They have received no assistance from whatsoever in the state or the center.
When it comes to children’s education, we can perceive that an effort has been made to continue it through online mediums. But the question is, has online education, on the other hand, become a viable alternative to traditional schooling? Economic inequality is a major issue in our society, and its consequences can be seen in our educational system. Online schooling demands a large number of smartphones, a strong network, and a data plan.
The majority of pupils in government and small private schools do not have access to these three resources. It is self-evident that the concept of online learning is useless to them. When we talk about their number, according to this NCERT survey, 27% of students out of 34,000 students were found to not have access to mobile phones in our country. Imagine the real numbers considering all the population, especially when we know that almost half of the population doesn’t have access to the internet.
When it comes to gender inequality, girls’ education has been affected more than boys’. In a poll conducted by several groups in the name of ‘Mapping the Impact of Covid-19’ in five states throughout the country, it is obvious that boys are given more priority in online education than girls. Girls were employed in domestic work in 70% of the homes. And now the majority of them are contemplating whether to resume their education. Child marriages have also surged dramatically.
If a study is conducted, it will become evident that the number of minor girls in marriages has increased significantly in the last two years. In the report of UNICEF, it has been said that the education of girls is affected more during the Corona period.
Children who study online are more likely to have weak eyes as a result of being exposed to adult content and spending so much time in front of a screen. There has also been a rise in the number of youngsters, many of these children, falling prey to drug addiction. Overall, the education system has deteriorated, when a nation needs to educate its citizens. These children are tomorrow’s citizens and future leaders; they are the nation’s most valuable asset. Governments should think hard about how to improve the educational system. Vaccination of school children should be taken seriously and implemented as soon as conceivable; otherwise, school closures could become a worse disaster for the country in the future than Corona, for which no alternatives exist.