The outbreak of COVID-19 has not just created a severe public health crisis but also given a jolt to the entire education system of India. Being highly communicable in nature, this virus has made the countrywide lockdown a need of the hour. Hence, our government, just like the governments of other countries fighting from coronavirus, has decided to shut down the country for an uncertain period of time. During this long and unplanned hiatus, the education system has been affected severely. Complete lockdown for schools and colleges has not only disturbed the flow of education but has also affected the lives of the students. The points enumerated below describe how this COVID-19 has damaged the functioning of our education system.
Impact on Policies and Schemes
The first impact is that on the policies or schemes of the government. Various schemes like ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, ‘Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan’, ‘Mid-day meals’ schemes, etc. have been implemented by the government to encourage education among the poor or the lower strata of our society. Among these schemes, the ‘Mid-day meals’ scheme emerged out to be the most advantageous one as this contributed to almost 60% of enrollment of students in the schools. Although the parents sent their wards to the schools so they might get food yet this scheme helped many students to gain an education. But due to COVID-19, all the schools were closed. As a result, the main purpose of this scheme turned void. Hence, the lockdown turned all these schemes useless. Even after the lockdown, there are hardly any chances for these schemes to be as impactful as they were before the lockdown.
Impact on Employment
The second impact can be seen in the employment of last year learners of colleges. No matter from which field you are, for getting good job internships are of utmost importance as they give you a substantial amount of experience. But due to COVID-19, last year students of colleges are unable to do internships. COVID-19 has also affected the probability of getting jobs. According to CMIE’s data 11.9 crores, people have lost employment in the first two weeks of COVID-19 lockdown. Hence, at a time like this where people are losing their jobs, getting a new one is a catch-22. This will add up more numbers of unemployed graduates which will harm our country in the long term.
Impact on Admission processes
The third impact is on the admission process of colleges and schools. Since COVID-19 has appeared in India in the month of March, it has severely affected the entrance exams of all fields. Due to the delay in conducting the entrance exams, the new sessions will also be delayed which would burden the teaching staff and would also increase the workload of the entire education system.
Impact on learning processes
The fourth impact can be seen in the process of aboard learning. Due to COVID-19, many students were unable to enroll in international learning. Not only Indian students are unable to study aboard but foreigners also are unable to apply for education in India. This has shattered the dreams of many students who wanted to pursue higher education from prestigious international colleges.
Flaws of Online Education
To continue the education of the students, many schools in India have gone online. They introduced a novel idea of online live teaching so that a student’s learning process is not interrupted due to the lockdown. But this so-called sincere and dutiful action of schools has many flaws.
The first is the unequal distribution of technology. According to statistics, all India percentage of households having Internet facilities stands at 23.8%, with rural availability at 14.9% and urban at 42%. Hence, around 16 lakhs of poor students have no internet. Despite this fact, schools are eager enough to continue their hard work of spreading education to ‘everyone’, with their basic rule, “if you have an Internet and a Smartphone then you the right to education or else you don’t”.
The second flaw is that online teaching is a supplement not a substitute for classroom teaching. Online teaching can never create that atmosphere of discipline, focus, interactions and curiosity as are present in the classroom. Many students use online classes as an excuse to do something absurd on the internet. After all, not everyone is Ranchod Das Chanchad, who is eager to learn no matter what the source is. Hence, the lack of concentration is a big problem in online classes. Another flaw is the ‘holistic development’ of students in the national aim of education in India. This includes a robust program of physical and socio-emotional development. Online classes cannot achieve this.
Impact on literacy rates
The most dangerous foreseeable impact of COVID-19 on the education system of our country. It is the dropping down of the literacy rate of our country, which at present stands at 74.04%. This is because of the ailing mentality of schools in our country viz. “If you will not pay the sum, we will not teach your little one”. Schools would be re-opened as soon as the lockdown is lifted. In other words, they will again start demanding fees from parents. Due to this lockdown, there has been a staggering loss of income especially of poor. Hence, after the lockdown, investment in education would definitely be not the priority of poor parents. This, as a result, would force many poor parents to drop their children out of schools or colleges which in turn will bring down the literacy rate.
Hence, this COVID-19 has severely affected the education system of our country. It and has done acute damages to the system. And, the situation has harmed the country in the long-term by providing a less-educated workforce. But this situation is not irrevocable. If the government tries its best then we can overcome this vicissitude of our education system.
Author: Darshita srivastava