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NGOs launch all-India campaign to bridge increased learning gaps during Covid-19

By Our Representative
Even as launching a new campaign, Mission 3-5-8, for “activating” the collapsed education system in across India amidst Covid-19 crisis, a group of civil society organizations regretted that there is an urgent need to bridge learning gaps that have come about between privileged and underprivileged sections of people during the pandemic.
Pointing out that structural imbalances between rural and urban areas are also having “critical impact on children’s education”, the campaign has been jointly launched by NGOs from Odisha (Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha), UP (Sonbhadra Vikas Sangathan), Bihar (Jan Adhikar Kendra), Chhattisgardh (Dalit Adivasi Manch), and Delhi (Ideal Youth, Health and Welfare Society.
Citing Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER), a campaign statement said, only 16% of children in Class 1 in 26 surveyed rural districts can read the text at the prescribed level, while 40% cannot even recognize letters. In states like Delhi, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand, more than 40% of households have internet access, but it is less than 20% in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
As for Odisha, the statement cited the Economic Survey 2018-19 to say that out of a total 51,311 villages, about 11,000 villages (more than 20%) do not have mobile connectivity. Odisha has just 28.22 internet subscribers for a population of 100, compared to the national average of 38.02.
Manoj Samantaray, involved in the research study on the students’ learning outcome assessment in Odisha, said, given this framework, “Online education can supplement towards bridging the learning gap, but it cannot replace the classroom, because one to one interactions among peers and teachers is very important for learning.”

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