COVID-19 has severely interrupted access to education in India, with 247 million primary and secondary school pupils missing school. While school systems in India and around the world have made efforts to reach students at home through various means, recent estimates of the impact on learning and socio-emotional well-being suggest that the poorest children will be the ones who suffer the most from school closures caused by the pandemic.
Indeed, school closures have prompted educational administrations to quickly invent and implement numerous forms of remote learning, such as radio, television, and various online resources. However, access to education technology (ed tech) varies greatly between and within nations, with children in high-income countries and communities being more likely than their counterparts in low- and middle-income countries and communities to have access to online, virtual schooling. As a result, a key topic is how the global school closures will affect student learning and progress in school, particularly among primary-school-aged children in low- and middle-income countries.
Furthermore, how will the COVID-19 school closures affect learning inequity among females and boys, poor and affluent students, and children from different communities and countries?
Families in Indian communities generally have many private and public-school alternatives nearby, providing an ideal opportunity to investigate how the usage of educational technology differs amongst different types of schools—both before and during the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, being a leader in large-scale education reform and ed-tech application among developing countries, India provides a fertile setting for this study's data collection. The diversity of its enormous population teaches valuable insights that can be applied to mammalian populations.
Alarmingly, one out of every five children were enrolled in a school that did not offer any remote education during the school closures, and only slightly more than half of the children whose schools had initiated remote instruction attended all of the lessons.
Earlier, girls were generally expected to help with domestic tasks and/or assist parents in caring for younger siblings, and it was believed that the impact of school closures in low-income nations may differ by gender. However, recent studies reveal that females are more likely than boys to have access to digital learning devices and to participate in more regular educational activities.
Governments will need to implement ways to assist kids in recovering from the learning losses caused by school closures and returning to school. An approach like this might include:
- Plan to reopen schools as quickly as possible, working closely with the health authorities.
- Assess each child's foundational reading and numeracy skills as soon as feasible to assist teachers and parents in developing individualised interventions to guarantee that each child can regain control of these important skills.
- Expand instructor and student access to digital devices and connections, as well as guidance and support for teachers on the best ed-tech resources for each student's learning level.
- While educational technology will not guarantee that children learn, it can be a tool for educators, students, and parents to assure learning continuity during school closures and allow for more student-centered, engaging instruction in and out of the classroom.
- Provide instructors and children with socio-emotional assistance, realising that the epidemic has resulted in not only academic loss but also emotional anguish in far too many households.