Skip to main content

School lockdown to cost India $400 billion, yet national education budget 'cut' in 2021

Counterview Desk 
The civil rights group Right to Education (RTE) Forum, even as insisting on the need to implement a list of demands it has worked out for overcoming the huge gaps in education, has said that children suffer from "psychological trauma", regretting, there is "loss of psychosocial support for those already vulnerable.
Pointing towards "unaddressed classroom hunger and learning loss", the Forum, which recently sent across the list of demands to MPs, said, "92% of children have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year", and it is estimated that school lockdowns would "cost India 400 billion dollars in future earning."
The Forum regretted: "When the education system needed help most, India’s national education budget saw cuts in 2021."

Text:

The Covid-19 pandemic has been the worst shock to education systems in a century. India’s 32 crore students have experienced the world’s fifth longest school lockdown. Schools and early childhood care and education (ECCE) centres do not just educate children; they are place for socialization, they provide nutritious meals, connect children with psycho-social support and provide social protection for the poor. Closed schools deprive India’s children of more than just a chance to learning; the losses that children and young people suffered will never be recouped.
Even on the back of the first wave, 64% of children in rural India feared they will drop out without additional support. While schooling moved online, less than 15% rural households had an internet connection at the start of the pandemic; 96% of SC and ST households lacked a computer (Oxfam India). In one survey, 80% of parents in government and 59% in private schools reported that education was effectively not delivered during the pandemic.
The result was psychological trauma, loss of psychosocial support for those already vulnerable and unaddressed classroom hunger and learning loss. 92% of children have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year . It is estimated that school lockdowns would cost India 400 billion dollars in future earning. When the education system needed help most, India’s national education budget saw cuts in 2021.
The return to normalcy is not in sight as schools, early childhood education centres and creches remain closed without any timeline for a return to normalcy. In June 2021, 125 of 723 districts had no Covid cases; since then 80% of all new covid cases have been reported from only 90 districts.
Enough is enough. It is time to #UnlockEducation in India. It is time for the Indian state to realize its constitutional responsibility to India’s children. It is time to realize the right to Education of the next generation by building back a stronger and better public education system that helps India emerge from this moment of crisis.
To achieve this, India needs to
  1. Prioritize getting all children back in school for complete or partial in-person instruction.
  2. Ensure that this reopening is done safely and inclusively, taking every measure to protect the health and well-being of learners, teachers and educators in manner that is decentralized involving parents and communities.
  3. Support students’ physical, mental health and psycho-social well -being, activate existing community mechanisms to identify those at risk and take steps to protect children from abuse, exploitation and violence of all forms including child labour, child marriage and trafficking.
  4. Promote holistic learning in children by providing an effective learning environment even in this time of crisis; assess student’s learning and support them to recover from learning loss through provision of accelerated learning and learning materials, including effective and inclusive use of technology including low tech modes.
  5. Strengthen the public education system and realize the Right to Education by enhancing the government’s own capacities instead of relying on private actors and PPPs.
  6. Ensure all Teachers’ vacancies are filled with immediate effect and pending salaries and allowances be paid with immediate effect.
  7. Stop privatisation and commercialisation of education in all forms.
  8. Protect the constitutional rights to educational equality by addressing the emerging digital divide and developing clear strategies to address the educational needs of India’s poor and marginalized groups including girls, persons with disabilities, dalits, adivasis, minorities and new categories of the excluded like Covid orphans and children of migrants in the response.
  9. Protect the well-being, health and economic security of teachers and other education personnel, provide them with training for safe reopening and support them once schools are opened.
  10. Re-open schools that have been closed/merged/rationalized during previous years to enable delivery of small group instruction respecting social distancing and stop further closures. .
  11. Place a moratorium on private schools hiking their fees during the pandemic and develop and enforce a comprehensive regulatory framework for private schools to prevent overcharging, exploitation and exclusion of children.
  12. Increase budgetary allocations for education adhering to the minimum of 6% GDP to ensure continuation of learning for all children, particularly those from marginalised groups.
  13. Develop a long term policy on Education in Emergencies to ensure readiness for future crises.

Comments

TRENDING

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Nuclear power expansion: Is AEC's new, 'unrealistic' target fully backed by PMO?

By Shankar Sharma*  Another unrealistic and tall claim by Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has been announced: India is eyeing 100 GW nuclear power by 2047, the AEC chairman  AK Mohanty   has said. A few years ago, the dream target for the Indian nuclear establishment was 275,000 MWe of nuclear power by 2050 (as per DAE document of 2008 "A Strategy for the Growth of Electricity in India”). Now this target of 100 GW nuclear power by 2047. And as at the end of February 2024, the actual nuclear power capacity was only 7,480 MWe, which formed only 1.7% of the total power capacity in the country. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Indians witnessing 'regression to Hindutva politics' under Modi ahead of elections

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The forthcoming general election in India, scheduled from April 19, 2024, to June 1, 2024, to elect the 543 members of the 18th Lok Sabha and the new Government of India, carries immense significance for the preservation of India's identity as a liberal, secular, and constitutional democracy.