Digital education amid corona: Was India ready?

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The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the hindrance of significant institutes and work spheres and several fields. Education, among many other industries, has taken a hit for the worse.

Notably, for India, education wasn’t the brightest star in the galaxy.  

Even in the pre-pandemic times, the rates of students, especially girls, attending schools degraded as they went from primary to secondary or higher. On the other hand, the efforts to digitize India, which seemed very promising on paper, have had not-so- promising results. 

girls in school

With regulations and lockdowns in place; and schools still being shut for a better future. Institutes had to adapt to online schooling.

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While everyone seemed to catch up on to it pretty quickly. What had seemed like growth initially, has been a dire wake-up call. 

effects of online education

unicef

The Remote Learning Reachability report published by UNICEF in August of 2020 says approximately 24% of households in India have access to the internet. It leaves almost three-quarters of the nation deprived of the primary education tool. And the lifestyle in this day and age as well. Comparatively, the quality of network connection for those who have access is relatively low.

There are many downsides to online education. The kids lose focus; the teachers lose their sync and flow. It leads to annoyance on everyone’s part, including the parents’. The latter is playing a vital role and making sure the child gets the education necessary. 

digital

Across India, the technological divide between the have and the have-nots was quite significant. The loopholes in the digitization process have only led to emphasize the problems.

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With online education, the gap for access to education between children from stable and unstable economic backgrounds is expected to widen. To further enunciate the point, the country’s enormous economic disparities will also aid in further a child’s access to primary education.

Read our post on Coaching Centres do they make or mar our future?

THE ECONOMIC VEXATIONS

economic

Indian economy, alongside the global economy, tumbled further into desolation. With more and more parents losing their jobs, providing for their children’s education is proving to be a mammoth task.

wi-fi cost

For the families that have access to the internet, the same prices don’t seem to be on a decline any time soon. Wi-fi installations and rates, and the data charges otherwise, are quite expensive. To add to the financial burden, the schools were initially charging the same fees. In spite of closed campuses.

This led to outrage in parents; and even though some schools have agreed to reduce the fees or have increased the deadlines. The pressure of those payments still hangs above their heads. 

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If we look at the different sides of the situation, the parents who were usually skeptical of their young children. Now, they have to buy laptops, tablets, and other such devices.

These unprecedented expenses have led to more instabilities and have pushed the already underprivileged families farther towards the poverty line.

THE TRIBULATIONS OF THE PARENTS

parents and students

Barring the economic trials, parents worry about the quality of education their children are receiving.

In many cases, the system’s caliber and its potent teachers have significantly downgraded. Because a lot of the teachers are unequipped for online classes.

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For the younger kids, who are not familiar with the technology. Their parents spend hours after hours by their kids. Sitting through their school with them, and then assisting them with notes and extra provided work, which is also online.

A lot of parents who controlled their kid’s screen time are left helpless. Whereas due to the unsafe environment outside. Kids are stuck at home on their devices with little to no physical activities.

The worries also rightfully emerge about the kids’ socialization capabilities. The campus environment that teaches the children autonomy, social relations and making relationships outside the home has vanished.

This worries a lot of parents about their children staying in touch with the outer world and growing as people.

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Read: Work from Home: Pros and Cons

STUDENTS’ AVERSION.

In context to the children’s aforementioned social relations, kids themselves seem to be fed up with the current scenario.

Going to school and frolicking around with their friends and having a fun time away from the parents was more than half the fun for so many kids. Now that’s taken away from them. The education used to accompany that easy-going fun seems insurmountable.

children with mobiles

The active little children are deprived of the outside. And younger children don’t even understand why they’ve got to sit in the house all day and study in front of a screen.

Contradictorily, because India is a country of families and brotherhood values, a lot of households live in joint families. In such an atmosphere that can prove to be loving; otherwise, it has been a hindrance to the kids’ education. Kids seem to lose focus and show disinterest in their education. Because of the never-ending distractions by family.

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CONCLUSION

literacy rate

Education for India, with its literacy rate of 77.7%, has never been an easy feat. In these unforeseen and trying times, the system has taken quite a beating.

But as it has always been with India, people are hopeful. Even with a pandemic that has come upon us without an expiration date. People seemed to have found their ways through it all.

This year has done a lot of irreparable damage to the future of the nation and our children.

But while more children are expected to drop out this year. The education system may have changed for the better in some form or another.

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educational reform

If the online schooling or assigning of work becomes a regular ingrained portion of the curriculum. And if made accessible to all. It can take away a lot of the burden from the children’s shoulders, literally and figuratively.

All we can do is stay hopeful and continue to strive to make this world and its systems a better place for our posterity.

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