Education, closely linked to classroom-based learning, is transitioning to virtual learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Educators and schools across India are keen on integrating virtual learning with their curriculum and pedagogy.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) and various regulators including CBSE, NCERT are working collaboratively develop an online mode of education to ensure the continuation of education.
NCERT has released an Alternative Academic Calendar for four weeks of home-based activities for different subjects for students of Class I-IV. For Class V students, teachers will be conducting classes through internet-based platforms, in the absence of which SMS and voice recordings can be sent. States including Uttar Pradesh are planning to launch high-quality ed-tech applications along with using e-resources suggested by the MHRD including e-pathshala etc.
The sector faces several challenges including:
Limited internet availability
The percentage of people able to use the internet (pan-India) is 20.1% – rural at 13% and urban at 37.1%.
Low regional connectivity
Connectivity numbers vary vastly among different states across the country- Bihar stands 9.1%, Maharashtra (26%), Rajasthan (15.3%), Andhra Pradesh (14.8%), Delhi at 49.1%
Transfer/Delegation of responsibility to parents
Parents will have to play an increasing role in educating their children and works on the assumption that the parents will have the academic intellect to impart education to their students.
Loss of nutrition due to school closure
Mid-day meal schemes have temporarily been shut as schools are closed affecting nutrition needs of 12 crore students across the country.
India as a developing country does not have unlimited resources, certain core sectors including education cannot simply be left as the last priority. Some careful planning might be able to limit the long-term consequences of this prolonged shutdown.