The novel coronavirus has affected each and every sector at a global level. Rich or poor, houses or huts, developed or developing countries, everyone found it difficult to face the challenges of the pandemic. But the Education sector can be considered as the most affected sector and one should be concerned about it as not only present but also the future of the globe is at stake. India is also the victim of this tragedy and has been facing difficulty to deal with the effects of covid-19. Looking at the recent news, it can be observed that India is coping up with many of the problems. But the Education remains at top when it comes to facing dynamic pedagogy of teaching. Developed countries had adopted the online teaching method before coronavirus which provides ease to them in this situation.
Jumping from chalk-talk to tap-talk is not an easy task for teachers as well as children. Teacher explaining everything, paying personal attention, etc. has its own value and this traditional method cannot have an exact substitute. Online Teaching however has made its way due to covid-19 and students are able to get their education sitting at home. But what about those who don’t have a home? What about those who are not able to get the facilities?
The necessity of new learning techniques has proved to be a boon for some while curse for the others. Yes, we are going to have a look at the effect of online teaching in the lives of impoverished children. E-learning is a much tougher task to impoverished children than to the privileged one. The one who barely was able to afford the books worth some rupees now has a task to afford at least a smartphone. How is that going to happen?
The fact that the government is trying its best to help them does not change the reality. Providing classes on television, sharing all the necessary details via SMS, etc. is not enough.
It is only after numerous efforts of the government and various other organizations that poor children had access to basic education. Let us have a close look at the conditions prevailing:
- Network issue
It is very commonly seen that when we are in remote areas, we do not receive a signal to make a phone call. Now how is online learning possible in these areas? Providing the internet to a few areas cannot solve the problem as there are numerous other issues.
- Electronic gadget
Even if one gets an internet connection, purchasing expensive electronic gadgets like mobiles, laptops is not possible for underprivileged children. Government came up with a scheme under which poor children will be given free electronic gadgets and this is a good initiative. But what about the reach? Is every poor able to get advantage of this initiative?
- Mid-day meal (MDM)
The government launched a mid-day meal scheme in 2002-03 to attract the poor children to come to the school. Impoverished children now had a motivation to wake up everyday and reach school on time. The fact that the education sector has adopted online teaching pedagogy does not mess up with their education only but also their hunger.
- Study Material
We often have witnessed that children share their books with each other in case someone does not have it. Affording expensive devices is really a task and sharing it after one gets in doesn’t sound promising. So, for impoverished children there is a lack of availability of study material.
Tired of witnessing fights and all other problems at home, poor children find schools as an escape for them. It had become a way for them to ignore everything that was not okay and find a better way to deal with it. Going to school was like a ray of hope to them which allowed them to have big dreams and an idea that they can study hard to get away from poverty. But online teaching seems to have seized their only hope.
There are so many problems which are yet to be dealt with. All the efforts by the Government and other organizations are based on hope that it will yield a positive result. But can all problems be solved? If yes, how much time will it take? The most serious question is What future these underprivileged children hold?
– By Dibhakshi Trivedi