Skip to main content

Reopening schools: 'Devote first 100 days to address children's social, emotional issues'

By Arjun Kumar*

Due to the Covid-19, many things have come to halt, but education was one particular sector that never resumed normal functioning, whether they be schools or colleges. After a significant time, when the cases are in control and several nations have achieved a substantial level of vaccination and herd immunity, the view has gone strong that normal education should resume for children.
To throw light on the topic, the Centre for ICT for Development (CICTD), Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, hosted a panel discussion under #WebPolicyTalk series, the State of Education – #EducationDialogue on Reopening of Schools amidst Covid-19: Challenges and the Way Forward for Children’s Education.
Sachidanand Sinha, professor, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, who chaired the session, explained how online education has affected people in rural and urban areas. Due to reduction in income and growing expenses of private education, onesaw that the enrolment rates in private schools have come down drastically.
Manushi Yadav, head, strategic partnership, Pratham Education Foundation, said that her experience working the NGO suggested how online education has nearly doubled the number of children who have lower reading capabilities than their grade.
Meeta Sengupta, founder, Centre for Education Strategy, New Delhi, and fellow, Salzburg Global Seminar, insisted on the need for teachers to become bridge in making the children educated and establishing their careers. She added, there is also the need to focus on a large variety of social essentials for children to make them responsible citizens in society.
Talking about difficulties faced by teachers, she said, there has been lack of online methods of teaching and engage children online. Also, there is lack of online-based pedagogy. Hence, as schools reopen, we should focus on filling the learning gap, she added.
Suchetha Bhat, CEO, Dream a Dream, Bengaluru, highlighted the impact of large-scale migration especially on children belonging to vulnerable communities, in particular girl children. She said, first hundred days in schools should be devoted to stabilizing their social and emotional challenges, as it is the period in transition. Children should not be put under stress by aiming at finishing the syllabus.
Prof Sinha said, it is essential to engage community and parents as schools reopen, adding, decision-making on what should be taught should be a decentralised collaborative effort, not a centralized job. Referring to his experiences from his fieldwork in various rural areas, he suggested, decentralizing should be accompanied with promoting social equity and social education.
Prof Sinha pointed towards how recent batch of students, who have never met in real life and have never been to a college campus, pose a challenge as the universities open up. During online classes, he said, there was lack of support from institutions, disturbing the teaching process. 
While these are macro level issues, there is also the need to solve things at the micro, household, level, especially families which have more than one child. Given this framework, he added, there is lot of pressure on teachers, a factor the authorities have ignored.
Sucheta Bhat, talking about education in the informal sector as also different platforms of education like EdTech startups, said, these should be regulated and kept under check. Their content and influence on children ought to be monitored. 
Manushi Yadav, answering a question, expressed apprehension about danger in opening schools, as vaccination for children has not even begun, even as stating that it is important to bring about changes in teaching in order to educate innovatively.
Added Meeta Sengupta, there is a need to come up with a couple of policy changes for future. Thus, one should try to develop peer learning circles among students for various subjects, which, according to her, is essential not just from the examination point of view but also in order to trigger effective debate on various topics the children study. Meanwhile, one ought work towards restructuring the infrastructure for online learning.
---
*Director, IMPRI. Inputs: Ritika Gupta, Sakshi Sharda, Swati Solanki, Sneha Bisht. Acknowledgment: Ayush Aggarwal is a research intern at IMPRI

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

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.

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. 

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.

Mark Lee: A spiritual leader who thought conventional religions are barrier to liberation

  By Harsh Thakor*  The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) lost Roger Edwin Mark Lee, who was a devoted disciple of Jiddu Krishnamurti, one of the greatest and most self realised spiritual philosophers of our time. Mark passed away due to pneumonia complications on April 6, 2024, at he Ventura Community Memorial Hospital in California. His exit was an irreparable loss to the spiritual world.

Fossil fuel projects: NGOs ask investors to cut TotalEnergies’ main sources of finance

By Antoine Bouhey, Lara Cuvelier, Helen Burley*  Reclaim Finance has joined 58 NGOs from around the world, including Banktrack, in signing an open letter calling on banks and investors to stop participating in bonds (loans granted by investors and facilitated by banks) issued by TotalEnergies. The 58 NGO signatories include 350.org , Amazon Watch, BankTrack, Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR, Papua New Guinea), Justiça Ambiental (Mozambique) and Friday for Future (Uganda), Oil Change International and Urgewald (Germany).