Survey carried out in 20 backward districts across 10 states to study need for an inclusive approach to reopen schools
As many as 64 per cent of the 1,725 children surveyed in 20 backward districts across 10 states expressed the need for support regarding extra classes to cover the learning gaps induced by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Prolonged closure of schools could also lead to an increase in the drop-out rates of girls.
The survey — carried out in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal in November 2020 — was conducted by ChildFund, a non-profit working in child development, in collaboration with Council for Social Development.
At least 1,605 parents and 127 teachers were also surveyed to assess preparedness of the public education system and the need for an inclusive approach to reopen schools.
These states had witnessed the heaviest inflow of migrant labourers during the COVID-19 pandemic and their children faced immense challenges in re-enrolling in schools due to a lack of documents. Closure of schools led to a decline in nutrition levels among children and online learning came with several challenges.
The study found that a majority of the parents (84 per cent) and children (83 per cent) wanted the schools to reopen. According to teachers surveyed, a further delay in opening of schools will increase the dropout rates of girls to 47 per cent.
Among other findings of the report were:
The report suggested a need for financial allocations in the form of a COVID-19 rehabilitation package to be made to the public education system. It also recommended providing social and emotional learning sessions to help children overcome emotional setbacks induced by the pandemic.
It also suggested special training / bridge classes for children who had difficulties accessing online classes.
Among other suggestions for state and Union governments were:
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.