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Odisha lockdown: Children's learning level 'plummets' as 32% take attend classes

By Our Representative
A civil society sample study in Odisha has found that children’s overall levels during the lockdown have drastically plummeted. It has found that out of a total of 845 school students of class VIII, who appeared for English language test, 48% were “below expected standard.” In Mathematics, this percentage was 45%, the study said.
The learning level of class III and V of the state was found to be equally worrisome. Out of 1,088 students in Class V, 59% failed to meet the required learning level in English, 53% in mathematics and 31% in Odia language. Similarly, out of 918 students of Class III, who appeared for the test, 43.42% and 26.54% of them needed remedial class to have the class appropriate learning level in Mathematics and Odia respectively.
Revealing this, the NGO Atmashakti Trust said, a report of the state government shows that out of a total 67,128 government elementary schools in the state, only 27.68% of them had initiated online education so far, and children who attend online classes through a smartphones is 31.95%.
“With the existing digital divide, relying only on online education will push the have-nots out of the education system, which will be accumulating inequality in educational outcomes”, a media communique by the NGO said, adding, hence there is a need for the government to come up with “alternative measures to ensure that these children do not lose out.”
Meanwhile, several NGOs have demanded that the Chhatisgarh government move to provide education to those children who are not able to attend online classes due to the lack of digital resources should be followed in Odisha.
“Recently, Chhattisgarh education minister Dr Premsai Singh Temak informed media that their government is planning to introduce “loudspeaker schools’ and “bultu ke bol” (seeking to propagate teaching via bluetooth) initiative to teach rural children amidst lockdown, with the help of teachers and communities across the state”, said the communique.
“The retention of learning for these children was important as they had almost been out of education for more than four months. This will help these children with their learning. The Odisha government must make a similar move like Chhatisgarh, immediately to address the children’s education in the state,” said Anjan Pradhan, convener, Odisha Shramajeebee Manch.

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