The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history. It had affected nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries. The closure of schools had affected mainly low- and middle-income households in countries. There existed clear educational disparities in opportunities in education in all most all countries this pandemic and its effect on educational systems all over the world had further increased the disparities. This education disruption has had and will continue to have substantial effects beyond education. The availability of education to children in a nation are so important as children are considered as the future of a nation. So, every child should have access to education, as through quality education they are not only improving their own lifestyles but that will be the key to pave the economic development of a country. The pandemic had a great impact on children and the teachers of all nation especially those of developing countries. Let us look on how these online classes had affected the whole education systems of the world especially in a developing country like India!
Even before the pandemic, the world was already facing formidable challenges in fulfilling the promise of education as a basic human right. It had not only affected high-school students or college going adults it had it impact on pre-primary students as well. The 2020 school closure had created a situation where the most disadvantaged children are most likely to lose out the opportunity to keep learning. It includes the availability of digital devices and internet in homes whole across the world. There already existed a digital gap between people before pandemic and the 2020 school and college closures and online classes had further widened the gap between the haves and have nots. Even developed countries like U.S.A is facing issues in education systems during pandemic as people are losing jobs, so they do not have enough money to pay for the expenses like new digital gadgets and internet plans.
Also, according to several surveys conducted during this period in US shows that there were still questions existed regarding the availability our gadgets and internet across the whole countries. As people are going jobless and homeless, they do not care about spending much for education, even if they want to. This will widen the gap between rich and poor, not only now but also affect the country’s economy. Even in U.S, around 1in 10 of the poorest children has a little access to technology for learning. There emerges a troubling gap in opportunity to continue learning between privileged and vulnerable children when looking at the other markers of economic advantages, such as employment and food security status.
India: Online Classes And Its Effect On Students.
Online classes are now the only mode of education which is practicable as the number of Covid-19 patients is increasing and it is risky to open schools and other educational institutions completely. Because children are not easy to control and there exists a high risk of virus spreading even more. So, we can say that online classes are somehow helping educational institutions around India beat the Covid-19 lockdown to push ahead with the academic calendar.
Online education enables the teacher and the student to set their own learning pace and gives the flexibility to life as people can set up a schedule that fits their own preferences and time. So, a result online educational platforms allows for a better balance of work and studies which will lead to independence of children in early stages of life itself. Online courses are more suitable for college students as they can manage time for both work and studying. Also, online classes are often can be more cost-effective than traditional classes and can be done at a pace the student is comfortable with. It will help to decrease the gap between the children and the rest of the world by connecting them with rest of the world. In short, we can say that online classes will enable the children to gain access to the world in their fingertip.
But there a lot of concern about this new mode of practice which we did not even expected to happen soon. There a lot of risks involving in online classes as more and more young children even pre-primary students are now more exposed to internet. This happens because children are more vulnerable group and so the internet exposure had puts children at the risk of online sexual exploitation and grooming by the predators.
There is also high risk in it as children is introduced more into internet and digital gadgets, they are very much likely to exposed into the potential dangers of the internet. Also, children are now looking at the screen for long periods this is going to affect the eyesight of children. The radiation from these devices is not good for children, especially young children. But, now since the educational institutions all over the world had accepted this mode of teaching, even though it is not a healthy way of learning children had to face it to continue their education. Another issue is the lack of expertise among teachers in teaching via online classes.
There arises an isolation among children as there had not social interaction between children just like they are in schools. This has a great impact on their behavior and attitude towards society as well as lead to less compassion for fellow beings. As we know India is still a developing country even before the pandemic, so the use of technology for teaching was not prominent among Indian schools and teachers. So, the sudden shift from classroom learning to online classes is difficult to impose as old teachers did not have prior knowledge of new technologies and the scope of internet and they had to start using it so sudden. Also, the access of internet is another important factor as most of the children in India does not have proper internet connections and digital devices. The rich people who live in cities have more access to internet and digital devices and they had good mobile connections and Wi-Fi connections. But the kids in villages or remote areas of our country had to suffer as they lack good mobile connections and access to internet.
They had to sit in the outside during raining or hot to attend online classes due to low internet speed and sometimes they could not even attend the classes. This could affect the future of the children especially during exam times. Most of the rural areas have only decent network for a video call for a few minutes, but for a 40-minute zoom or other online video classes it is not easy for a student as well as the teachers.
The financial crisis emerged because of Covid-19 pandemic is mostly affected middle class and low-income groups of both rural and urban areas. Due to financial crises, people are not able to buy new smartphones or laptops inured to continue the further learning. So, these problems are not affected the adults in college but also the pre-primary level students. Even schools did not have proper internet facilities. There also arises environment issues due to the high use of electronic gadgets as well widespread use of internet all over the world. There also emerged security concerns in the use of zoom app for video conferencing, which emerged as the mainstay across India.
Another important crisis emerged due to the online classes in our country is the suicides of students who have no access to internet and new digital devices. Poor and middle-class students who are going to the backbone of Indian economy now are committing suicides as their families does not have money for new gadgets or internet plans. Another important crisis is the recharge of phones if the increasing cost of mobile plans. The mobile plans costs are now increased which had become an imminent expense which is hard to avoid now due to the online classes. Students are sometimes not able to access to internet as they have no money for mobile plans.
Government should take actions for proper internet facilities to the needed places as well as take steps in providing free or subsidized data packs for the needy people. The gender divide in internet usage is also increasing. There still exists a huge disparity between men and women especially in rural India. So, if the government continue online education without necessary supportive measures, the prevailing disparity among the virtual world could eventually lead into a widening educational inequality among learners.
But these crises are not short term as this is going to affect the education of the young generation and which eventually going to affect the service sector of the country. So, the development of a country is in hands of the children. If they are not getting proper facilities or opportunities to education that will pave to the destruction of the economic development of a country. So, the government had to adopt several measures to help in the balancing of providing educational opportunities all over the country as children are future of the country whether they are rich or poor, girl or boy.
RTE is an act of the parliament of India enacted on 4 august 2009, which describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between the age of 6 to 14 years in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. Indian Government should ensure the enforcement of the Act to provide the free and compulsory education to children between age 6 to 14 as there are many students who is depending solely on government schools and government educational institutions. During a crucial time like this, government must ensure that children are getting facilities so that they can continue their education.
Since, even before the coming of pandemic there a lot of criticisms against the government schools and government run educational institutions all over the country. As the quality of education provided by the government school system is not so good. Even though, it forms around 80% of elementary education provider in the country, it suffers from shortage of teachers and infrastructural gaps.
There exists still mismanagement and corruptions regarding the appointments in these public sectors due to the political convenience. So, this lack of proper care should not be shown to the kids during because even during this time many children just want education. Only through education, they can improve their economic and social conditions. Even the promotion of more girl child into education also should be increased at a crisis like this because through valuable care and education, they can become an independent woman who can further inspire more girl child in the future. This will ensure the economic and social development of a country.
Even though, schools may be re-opening abroad, India still have not reached the situation to open schools and other educational institutions. In foreign countries, they are certainly taking more precautions and cleanliness but in India people to a certain extend are not taking it seriously and are not concerned about taking the necessary precautions. So, opening of educational institutions are risky at this stage as it is hard to keep students under this precautionary measure.
So, the government should continue the online classes for some more time until it is safe to open. But still children lack facilities, and this should be cleared by providing adequate infrastructure facilities and internet facilities for children. Also, government should introduce more measures to ensure the economic stability of its citizen.
How Did The Covid-19 Pandemic Affect The Educational Sector All Over The World?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history. It had affected nearly 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries. The closure of schools had affected mainly low- and middle-income households in countries. There existed clear educational disparities in opportunities in education in all most all countries this pandemic and its effect on educational systems all over the world had further increased the disparities
Do You Think It Is Good To Follow Online Classes Even After The Pandemic Is Over?
No, I personally do not entertain the idea of continuing online classes after the pandemic. This is because, online classes are suitable in situations if we cannot conduct classes in schools at any cost. But going to schools and colleges are the best way of studying and learning, as it helps children to interact with each other and socialize which is important among human beings. Also, interaction between teachers and students are crucial factor in the process of learning.
Even overuse of gadgets and internet from a school age can cause damages to children. Even their mental health is also going to have problems as well as eye problems will arises.
What Measures Should The Government Take In Providing Quality Education To All Children Despite The Challenges Arising Due To Present Situations?
The government have the responsibility to provide education to all children without any discrimination. For these they must ensure that children have basic facilities such as food, clothing, clean drinking water and shelter. The improvement of these factors itself create an urge in them to study. Even during online classes government should provide WI-FI connections to remote and village areas at free of cost as well as data packs at subsidized rates.
This will encourage students to participate more in classes and relief parents of low-income households. More girl children should be encouraged to participate in classes as mostly they are the neglected section among poor who does not get proper education. The empowering of children through education is the first step towards economic and social development of a country.