Effects of Covid-19 in Education

Effects of Covid-19 in Education

Written By: / Articles / Wednesday, 27 May 2020 16:58

Even before the Covid-19 Pandemic,the world has living a learning crisis.Before the Pandemic,258 million children and youth of primary and secondary school age were out of school as per the report of UNICEF.And low schooling quality meant many who were in School learned too little. The learning poverty rate in low and middle income countries was 53%- meaning that over half of all 10 year old children couldn’t read and understand a simple age appropriate story.Even worse, the crisis was not equally distributed: the most disadvantaged children and youth had the worst access to schooling, highest dropout rates and the largest learning deficits.All this means that the world already far off tracks for meeting”Sustainable Development Goal-4" which commits all nations to ensure that among other ambitious targets”all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education”.
   The Covid-19 Pandemic, now threatens to make education outcomes even worse.The Pandemic has already had profound impacts on education almost everywhere in the planet leading to the near-total closure of schools, Colleges and Universities.As of 27th April 2020, approximately 1.725billion learners are currently affected due to the Pandemic.According to UNICEF monitoring,186 countries are currently implementing nationwide closure and 8 are implementing local closure, impacting about 98.5% of the world’s students population.School closure impact not only students, teachers and families but also have far reaching economic and social consequences.School closure in response to Covid-19 have shed light on various social and economic issues, including students debt, digital learning, food insecurity and homelessness as well as access to childcare, healthcare, housing, internet and disability services. The impact was more severe for disadvantaged children and their families causing interrupted learning, compromised nutrition, childcare problems and consequent cost to families who couldn’t work. The damage will become even more severe as the health emergency translates into a deep global recession.
     In response to school closures UNESCO, recommended the use of distance learning programs and open education applications and platforms that Schools and teachers can use to reach learners remotely and limit the disruption of education.Needless to say, the Pandemic has transformed the centuries-old,Chalk-talk teaching model to one driven by technology.This disruption in the delivery of education is pushing policy makers to figure out how to drive engagement at scale while ensuring inclusive e-learning solutions and tackling the digital divide.A multi-pronged strategy is necessary to manage the crisis and build a resilient education system in the long term especially for India.In India too, sometimes in the second week of March 2020, state governments across the country began shutting down schools and Colleges temporarily as a measure to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. It’s close to a one &half months and there is no certainty when they will reopen.This is a crucial time for the education sector-board examinations, nursery schools admissions, entrance tests of various Universities and competitive examinations, among other are all held during this period.As the days pass by with no immediate solutions to stop the outbreak of the Covid-19, School and University closures will not only have a short-term impact on the continuity of learning for more than 285million young learners in India but also endanger far-reaching economic and societal consequences as that of other part of the world. The structure of schooling and learning, including teaching and assessment methodologies was the first to be affected by these closures.Only a handful of private and government schools could adopt online teaching methods.The low-income private and government schools counterparts,on the other hand have completely shutdown for not having access to e-learning solutions.The students in addition to the missed opportunities for learning,no longer have access to healthy meals during this time and are subject to economic and social stress.
 The Pandemic has significantly disrupted the higher education sector as well,which is a critical determinant of a counyry’s economic future.A large number of Indian students-second only to china-enroll in Universities abroad, especially in countries worst affected by the Pandemic like US,UK,Australia and China.Many such students have now been barred from leaving these countries.If the situation persists,in the long run,a decline in the demand for international higher education is expected. The bigger concern, however on everybody’s mind is the effect of the disease on the employment rate.This situation can be a ringing alarming bell mainly in private sector Universities.May be some faculties and employees may face salary cuts,bonus and increments can also be postponed.Recent graduates in India are fearing withdrawal of job offers from corporats because of the current situation. The Centre of Monitoring Indian Economy’s estimates on unemployment shot-up from 8.4% in mid-March to 23% in early April and the urban unemployment rate to 30.9%.The lockdown has generated uncertainty over the exam cycle.Many Universities may face impact in terms of a slowdown in student internship and placements,lower fee collection that can create hurdles in managing the working capital.Another major concern is that it can affect the paying capacity of several people in the private sector,which is catering to a sizeable section of the students in the country.Students counselling operations are also affected.Several institutions may pause faculty hiring plans for existing vacancies,which in turn affect quality and excellence.
  The costs of Pandemic crisis are miserable.But it is possible to counter those shocks and to turn crisis into opportunity. The first step is to cope successfully with the school closures by protecting health and safety and doing what they can prevent students learning loss using remote learning i.e e-learning/online classes.At the same time, countries need to start planning for School reopening.That means preventing dropout,ensuring healthy Schools conditions and using new techniques to promote rapid learning recovery in key areas once students are back in schools.As the school system stabalizes, countries can use the focus and innovativeness of recovery period”build back better”. The key: don’t replicate the failures of the pre-Covid-19 systems but instead build towards improved system and accelerated learning for all students.

About the Author

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh

Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. Presently, he is teaching Mathematics at JCRE Global College. Jugeshwor can be reached at: sjugeshwo[email protected] Or WhatsApp’s No: 9612891339.

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