In the middle of the COVID-19 epidemic, India’s school closures and children’s lack of smartphone and internet access have exacerbated an educational divide, according to the United Nations Cultural Organization, posing threats to young people’s futures.
According to UNESCO, about 248 million kids have been affected by school closures since March of last year, however, several Indian states have begun to ease restrictions as illnesses have decreased and vaccines have increased in the previous two months.
Nearly 70% of students lacked cellphones or other devices to take lessons online, while the majority struggled with inadequate or no Internet connection, particularly in rural regions, according to the report.”There is an urgent need to plan to get students and their teachers back to school,” the agency said in its report on education in India issued on Tuesday.
According to the research, based on government statistics, over 40% of parents could not afford internet fees, impacting learning and therefore expanding the educational divide between different segments of society.
Widespread economic turmoil and job losses as people moved to communities in the countryside have driven families into poverty, exacerbated by problems like malnutrition and early marriages for girls, according to the agency. Private schools, which get no government funding but are attended by many impoverished families desiring a better education for their children, were the worst impacted since parents were unable to pay fees due to decreased economic activity.
The Indian GDP shrank by 7.3 percent year on year in the fiscal year that ended in March 2021, the biggest slump since the country’s independence from colonial master Britain in 1947.Teachers in private schools, which employ roughly 30 percent of India’s total of 9.7 million, experienced salary cutbacks or job losses as many pupils were withdrawn or moved to government-subsidized institutions. UNESCO urged India to recognize teachers as “frontline workers” in the fight against the epidemic and to improve working conditions for them to guarantee improved educational outcomes.