How has the lockdown affected the education sector of India?

The education sector, among other sectors, was largely hit by the ongoing pandemic and resulting lockdown. From students whose Board exams were ongoing, college final year students, PhD candidates to school beginners, everyone had to face the abrupt postponement.

What was the biggest modification seen in education?

After a few weeks when it was evident that it may take several months before everything goes back to normal, most institutions commenced online classes. The age-old chalk and blackboard system that is still followed in most parts of India modified into online classes using apps like Zoom and Google Classroom

Although it’s an efficient solution to the sudden freeze in the education system, it is not plausible in a country like India. Reasons being;

  • Only 24% of Indian households have access to the internet.
  • 14% of households in rural areas have access to the internet.
  • 42% of urban households had access to the internet.
  • Only 12.5% of students own smartphones.
  • 16% of women had access to phone and internet.
  • 36% of men had access to phone and internet.

The condition barred the institutions to spread education to every strata.

Mental condition of students during pandemic.

Firstly, students from not so well to do families faced the lack of entitlement to education which affected them adversely. An example of it would be the class 10 student in Tamil Nadu who committed suicide, for not being able to attend the ongoing online classes.

Secondly, the boards were ongoing when the lockdown was imposed hastily. The students who had to join college this year are stressed and worried. Entrances and competitive exams are all nationally postponed.

Thirdly, the last year students of universities who were supposed to graduate and enter work-life too suffered a major setback.

Fourthly, with universities organizing online examinations, many are worried as they don’t have access to means for that.

With idleness comes unnecessary thoughts and boredom. Stress and anxiety levels among students have skyrocketed.

How to ensure better means of education?

  • Narrowing the digital gap- In areas of good internet connection, classes can be taken via videos or video calls. But for areas which do not have a good connection, typed out notes can be mailed by teachers and authorities which would require less internet and even a poor connection will suffice. Voice recordings and lectures over calls can be attended by students even in remote areas
  • Arrange to counsel for students– often students and youngsters are not comfortable to open up about their mental health to their families. Counselling, meditation classes, or online activities can keep boredom out and enhance better mental health among students.
  • Modifying curriculum- Curriculum must include subjects on mental health, self-improvement and positivity. Making students and youngsters realize that they are not alone in this fight is as important as making them study mathematics or history.
  • Student volunteers- students can engage in teaching classes or volunteer to spread education remote areas where technology cannot reach. It is difficult for a teacher all the students who have no access to technology personally, hence volunteer service would be an immense help.

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