Schools

As schools reopen, study warns of deepening divides

Students back in schools.

Students back in schools.

As almost 26 crore children return to physical classes after 18 months of school closures, a business as usual approach will lead to a deepening of existing educational inequity, warned the National Coalition on the Education Emergency in a report released online on Tuesday.

The NCEE cited data from the recent SCHOOL survey conducted in 15 States, which showed that 72% of elementary age children did not do any regular studying by any method during the lockdown, with only 8% of rural children able to access online classes. An NCEE survey of teachers in a sample of Karnataka schools found that 85% of Class 8 teachers thought that most of their students were not at their grade level in mathematics and language. Three-fourths of Class 10 teachers agreed. The worst affected are children of the rural and urban poor, migrants, minorities, Dalit, adivasi and other backward communities, many of whose families faced a health and livelihood crisis during the lockdown apart from a lack of educational access.

“When schools reopen, it cannot be about pouncing on children to make them learn the three R’s. We can’t just go on from where they left off two years ago, or expect them to match up to the regular syllabus at their new grade level with some sort of short bridge course”, said Shantha Sinha, former head of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, speaking at the report of the release. “So much has happened since then, and there needs to be a focus on children’s mental health and self-esteem before anything else”.

The report, “A Future At Stake - Guidelines and Principles to Resume and Renew Education”, suggests specific ways to bring children back to school, communicate with parents and teachers and processes to support the most disadvantaged. Till lower secondary level, curriculum need to be redesigned with a focus on socio-emotional development, language and maths skills.


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Printable version | May 21, 2022 3:17:43 am | https://www.thehindu.com/education/schools/as-schools-reopen-study-warns-of-deepening-divides/article37315195.ece