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No education for 80% government school students during lockdown: Oxfam Survey

Government school students have no access to online education.

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The coronavirus pandemic has significantly created an immeasurable gap within the education system in India. The worsening plight of government schools with dilapidated infrastructure, minimal academic resources due to limited funding is a major drawback.

With the onset of online classes amid the coronavirus lockdown over 80% of children enrolled in government schools did not receive any form of education.
A survey conducted by Oxfam India reveals that over 80% of children enrolled in government schools have not received any form of education since the lockdown, while only 20% teachers in government schools have been trained to provide online classes.

Eight out of 10 parents confirmed that no education was given to their children enrolled in govt. schools during the lockdown period. In Bihar, 100 percentile didn’t receive any education.

No Education for 80% Govt School Students Since Lockdown: Survey
Representative Image (Credit: iStock)

Belonging to the weaker section of the society most of the children do not have access to a mobile, laptop and the Internet. Two out of every five government teachers didn’t have the devices required to deliver education online. The pandemic has left many students behind damaging their future prospects.

While parents of students enrolled in government schools complained about the various hindrances to online education, for those sending their kids to private schools, school fees remain a major source of economic stress.

According to the survey, around 39 per cent parents in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh Pradesh had to pay hiked fees for the upcoming academic year. Around 50 per cent of parents in UttarPradesh paid hiked fees.

Signal/internet speed issues- 53%
Data is too expensive- 32%
Don’t have device-23%
Difficulty in negotiating software- 19%
No internet connection- 18%

 

The Ten Recommendations

1. Issue a notification under the provisions of Section 10 (2) (1) of the Disaster Management Act, putting in place a moratorium on private schools hiking fees until normalcy is restored

2. Improve enforcement of state orders around fee hikes; set up a helpline for parents to report grievances and ensure that they are responded to within 48 hours

3. Use inclusive means such as including a few pages of printed material of daily exercise for children along with the MDM and ICDS rations being distributed

4. Ensure home delivery of textbooks to all children in government schools to enable them to return to the realm of learning

5. Facilitate physical classes to support a gradual transition to the reopening of schools by issuing instructions to begin Mohalla classes (while maintaining physical distancing), in areas with low infection rates Page 4

6. Ensure safety, home delivery of cooked meals/dry rations under the midday meal scheme; ensure access is unconditional (without documentation such as Aadhaar)

7. Disinfect schools thoroughly and develop a participative process involving parents, local health administration and teachers to certify schools as safe to open

8. Instruct states to recover lost instructional time by designing and delivering a 45-day accelerated learning curriculum (focused on foundational skills) that supports a smooth transition for students back to school

9. Mobilise Panchayat Samitis to map at-risk and vulnerable children (particularly girls and migrant children), and connect them to relevant social protection schemes

10. Don’t task teachers with non-teaching field-duties that have safety and health hazards; in the case that such tasks are allocated, ensure that they receive PPE, additional hazard pay and insurance

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