Coronavirus, an infectious disease spreading all across the globe has not only affected the economy as a whole but it has a huge impact on the education sector as well. Due to this pandemic there is a closure of schools, universities and colleges worldwide and it has reshaped nearly every aspect of normal life. In India too the closure of schools and universities has had far reaching social and economic consequences. Some private schools have adopted the online teaching methodology. The low income private and government schools, on the other hand,have completely shut down for not having access to e-learning solutions. No doubt, that it is a crucial time for the education sector because majorly all the entrance exams of universities and competitive exams are held during this period. Mostly all the entrance exams like JEE, NEET are postponed as it is difficult to conduct exams at this time.
Covid 19 was an extremely stressful situation for the 10th and 12th class students and for the college students as there were repeated postponement of their exams. There was no clarity about the cancellation of exams or when the exams would be held. There were speculations about the grading system, will it be beneficial for the students or not. But now many things have been cleared like the 10th and 12th class board exams got cancelled and even the 1st and 2nd year students are promoted on the basis of their internals. For the 3rd year students Open Book Exam (OBE) is considered as an option as it would help to analyze their critical thinking.
As mostly schools and colleges are conducting their classes online it has burdened both students and teachers as they have to adapt to an online learning environment. In fact, the future of education has been transformed to not only accommodate online classrooms but embrace digital education. From primary schools to PhD programs, students across the globe are experiencing the altering effects of coronavirus as classrooms move online. Online learning i.e. e-learning is a great platform to introduce students to technology who haven’t experienced it. But there are some challenges faced by students. Technology plays an important role in online learning. But there might be unstable WIFI connection, some students even don’t have access to the internet. Subsequently, many teachers and students find it difficult to teach and learn from the confines of a computer screen. For younger students keeping a fixed schedule is important to maintain discipline and time management. But due to online classes they are not able to manage their time and it affects their productivity. Online learning is not even a short time solution for the primary school students because they need social and emotional bonding with the teachers for their development. Constant online classes for 5-6 days. Prolonged exposure to the screen with headphones is not an ideal situation as it is extremely stressful and leads to an increase in anxiety and depression.Young people who spend seven hours or more a day on screens are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or anxiety than those who use screens for an hour a day, finds a new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports. Not only this, many students don’t have access to internet facilities and this increases the burden on their parents as they are not able to attend classes.According to THE HINDU report a class 9th student of Kerala who did not have access to either a smartphone or TV committed suicide as she was not able to attend online class .
According to the UNESCO estimates, over 154 crore students are severely impacted by closure of educational institutions across the world amidst the COVID-19 outbreak due to which girls will be the worst hit as it will lead to increased dropout rates and further entrench gender gaps in education. Private schools are demanding fees from students as they are not able to pay salaries to teachers while some parents are not able to pay them as they are facing problems or might have lost their job due to covid, so they have no choice then dropping out their children from school.
Another major concern is the placements, for students who have just completed their graduation have a fear in their mind of withdrawal of job offers from the corporate sector due to the current situation. The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s estimate of the unemployment rate for the month of July at 7.43%.
We can’t ignore that education plays an important role and especially at this time there is a need for capacity building of young minds. The Central Government and State government need to take some measures to ensure progress in the education sector like ensuring learning continuity during this period, providing funds to government schools to continue their learning process in the digital form and many more.