COVID-19 Impact: Six Million Children Out of School in India
COVID-19 has adversely impacted the education of crores of children globally. Shockingly in India, it has affected some 290 million children, with six million out of school
COVID-19 has adversely impacted the education of crores of children globally. Shockingly in India, it has affected some 290 million children, with six million out of school. This number threatens to go up due to economic insecurity in their families due to COVID-19, causing many children to leave their studies. This has especially affected the girl child.
The immediate impact of the pandemic is the lack of entry of new children in schools. Annual Status of Education Report has in a recent study said that many young children have not joined the school and there is a sharp jump in out-of-school children in the 6-10 age group. This has gone up from 1.8% (in 2018) to 5.3% (in 2020) and among all children up to 16 years from 4% to 5.5%. ASER is an annual survey that aims to provide reliable annual estimates of children’s schooling status and basic learning levels for each state and rural district in India.
One of the reasons may be that the admission process may still not be complete due to COVID-19. Another reason could be that parents have decided to keep their children at home for fear of the virus.
Alternative methods of teaching evolved quickly by most schools have led to serious problems for students, especially those from families of low-income groups. They have limited access to smartphones and form the bulk of the 40% population which has no access to them. The ASER survey shows that 38.2% of children did not have access to smartphones. The survey further pointed out that online learning is available to only 11%. Of these, the share of those who were in government schools was 8.1%.
The government must pay attention to this and plan something quickly and start work as already, there were six million children out of school and reportedly another 1-1.5 million would be added soon.