Skip to main content

Social, digital divide puts disadvantaged at risk of 'learning' losses, dropping out

By Our Representative 
Lauding the Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR) 2020 of UNESCO, which highlights the need to make education a universal right for all, the Right to Education (RTE) Forum has demanded the government and policy makers in India should pay immediate attention towards this as it has become crucial at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has further exacerbated the existing inequalities in society.
The RTE Forum, in a statement, has said that in India, the implications of the pandemic on the marginalized sections are evident. To curb the spread of the virus, the national lockdown has led to schools remaining closed for nearly three months now. But, in the meantime, the Government of India, without taking into account the digital divide, is considering online education as an alternative to regular school education.
Girls, children with disabilities, and children from marginalized communities with no access to laptops, smartphones, or data connections are left out which increases the risk of them not returning to schools, even once the situation normalizes. With health and nutrition point of view, it should be noted that anganwadis and ICDS centres have also remain closed affecting the midday meal distribution which is threatening to the lives of lakhs of children suffering from malnutrition.
It is worth mentioning that the GEMR report 2020 says, “Social and digital divides have put the most disadvantaged at risk of learning losses and dropping out. Also, lessons from the past – such as with Ebola – have shown that health crises can leave many behind, in particular the poorest girls, many of whom may never return to school.”
The RTE Forum said, the GEMR report has vindicated our stand that “automatic grade promotion” helps disadvantaged students. The report mentions that repetition of failure is an inclusion challenge since disadvantaged students have a higher likelihood of repeating.
Disadvantaged students have a higher likelihood of repeating. Studies show that there is no effect of repetition on achievement 
On the contrary, no-detention helps to keep children in schools and reduce drop-outs. The report mentions that impact of detention will be counter-productive on social-emotional outcomes and lead to low self-esteem among students.
Commenting on the importance of the GEMR report, Ambarish Rai, National Convener, RTE Forum said: 
“At a time, when we are grappling to overcome the pandemic, it becomes vital to prioritize the psycho-social health of students and the government must ensure automatic promotion of students of all classes into the next grade. Now is the time to bring back the no-detention policy in the interest of children from marginalized sections and girls by withdrawing the Second Amendment of the RTE Act 2009, which diluted the provision.”
Quoting from the GEMR report, the Rai added, “In India, children who repeated a primary grade were less likely to complete primary school, yet a dozen states abandoned the no- repetition/detention policy in 2017.”
Rai further said that teachers are a critical pillar of the education system and the GEM report reaffirms that trained teachers are essential for the fulfilment of sustainable development goal (SDG) 4. It also points out to the large disparity in the pupil-teacher ratio among states in India, especially in secondary and higher secondary education. This is largely because of the huge number of teachers’ vacancies across India with 11 lakh teachers’ posts remaining vacant in the country.

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.