COVID-19’s Effect on Education in India
COVID-19 has disrupted our lives and changed the world as we know it. The global pandemic has separated us from family and friends, affected our financial stability, and devastated education around the world. As lockdowns have been placed in different states, cities, and towns across the world, children have lost access to their schools. India is a country that has been hit hard due to lack of access to technology and internet connectivity.
India’s Technological Divide
In India, approximately 320 million students have been badly affected by COVID-19. India’s government has suggested that schools change their teaching methods to virtual classrooms. However, this suggestion only sounds easy in theory. In reality, public school students do not have access to adequate resources. Many students have had to make the best of the little technology they have. Private school students have fared better during the pandemic.
In India, there is a vast technological divide. The National Sample Survey, conducted between 2017 and 2018, found that only 23.8 percent of Indian households had access to the internet. The survey also found that men were the primary users. Children had limited access to the internet and teachers were not properly equipped for online teaching. India’s government made the suggestion to schools with the best intentions. This is an emergency situation the world has not faced in recent years and India’s government had to make rushed decisions to implement social distancing and quarantine policies.
India’s education system, similar to many countries during this time, is in disarray. While the government is doing their best to facilitate online education, the truth is that no one was prepared for such a drastic situation. Public school teachers are struggling to teach their students online, and students are also struggling to access quality technology that will allow them to complete their assessments and study for exams. In Haryana, one of the 28 states in India, an estimated 3% of school children have access to computers with connection to the internet. A further 20% of school children had access to mobile phones with connection to the internet. However, most parents take these mobile phones to work because they do not belong to the children. The Haryana government has asked headmasters to call at least 20 students a day to check in on them. The state government has also appointed approximately 2,000 observers to call students daily and check on their progress. Understandably, this system is fallible and these children require more support. There are not enough ways to keep track of how students are progressing with their schoolwork.
The situation has been made worse by the growing economic crisis. Economic Affairs secretary Tarun Bajaj said, “This year may be a lost year for us.” The International Monetary Fund has said that India’s GDP is likely to shrink 4.5% in 2020. While other financial institutions had similar forecasts, Bloomberg Economics delivered the most pessimistic report with a projected 10.6% decrease.
The pandemic has caused millions of people to lose their jobs across the country. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently working on encouraging local manufacturing to lessen India’s dependence on imported goods. India relied on China for a lot of its manufacturing needs. However, the pandemic and a recent military altercation with China (which left 20 Indian soldiers dead) has pushed the Indian government to look inward to salvage its economy. India’s education system needs help. Their schools require better support systems and supplies so that teachers can help their students learn with relative ease.
How You and Yours Humanly Can Help
While the global pandemic and lockdowns are still a way of life, in June 2020 the Yours Humanly India Team delivered a month of household supplies, hygiene kits (including face masks and sanitizers), stationery and art supplies, and groceries for more than 4,000 meals to multiple families in Aanganwaadi, a slum community in Sahaspur, India. Additionally, training in good hygiene and social distancing was provided to the families of laborers, housemaids, and daily wage earners, who are all struggling during these difficult and unprecedented times.
While we are so thankful to have been able to complete this project and give help to those who need it, there is still much work to be done. Want to help? Visit our website to learn more about the work Yours Humanly does, and here are some additional ways you can contribute to the cause:
- Make a donation here.
- Learn about fundraising opportunities here.
- Volunteer with us.
- Like and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Yours HumanlyAugust 10, 2020