Context: A whopping 1.6 billion young people, or about 90% of the world’s student population got shut out of school and university in April as mentioned in ‘Save our Education report’.

More on the news:

  • The report was released by Save the Children foundation which is a British charity organisation.
  • The report points towards the onset of an unprecedented global education emergency.

Impact of Lockdown on Children and their Education:

  • As per the report upto 9.7 million children are at a risk of not returning to their schools post the lockdown.
  • The economic stress created by lockdown can force the children to earn bread for the family rather than focusing on studies, this will further increase child labour in the country.
  • India has 1/3rd of the world's poorest children who are excluded from studies owing to the closures of anganwadi centres, schools and universities.
  • This coupled with poor digital infrastructure in the country has even kept online education aloof from these children.
  • Further the situation is an alarming bell for India as pre Covid scenario was also not good for the country as shown by dismal performance in ASER report 2019.
    • As per it, Only 16% of children in Class 1 can read the text at the prescribed level, while almost 40?nnot even recognise letters. 

Way Ahead:

  • Immediate Revival of schemes like Angadwadi must take place post the unlock phase with a revamped approach of focusing on hygiene as well as social distancing.
  • Timely Cash Transfers and aid under Garib Kalyan Yojana must be dispatched so as to reduce the economic stress on families and prevent children from falling into exploitative vocations.
  • Digitization of schools and universities must be done at the earliest so as to support online education. 
    • This should be done along with a focus on digital inclusion of the poor and marginalised, coupled with inculcation of digital literacy so that they can use the online medium, the role of anganwadi workers becomes crucial in this domain.
    • Till this is done we can use television, radio, mobile phone or even the loudspeaker to reach the farthest child. 
  • Reopening of schools and universities also demands a focus towards mental and emotional well being of children for which sensitization of school authorities and teachers is required.
  • Till the time Schools and Colleges are not opened and online education is not rendered, focus on home learning is required.
    • In this the parents or community members in a village can be trained to teach their children at home, thereby sustaining the learning environment.  

While access to education and nutritious food must be revived, technological innovation may hold the key for unlocking the true potential of our children.


Image Source: Livemint