Many countries around the globe were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. India was among the worst-hit countries in the world. There were over 35 million confirmed cases of Covid-19, with over 500,000 deaths confirmed. These figures are just under-reported numbers while the reality was much worse. The Indian education system is not yet fully developed in urban as well as rural areas. A midday meal program was organized by the government to attract students for education. Under the prevailing circumstances, the government announced a nationwide lockdown in March 2020 to fight COVID-19. This had a big impact on the Indian education system. The school system of India is second-largest in the world. According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO, over 60 million teachers had been affected by Covid-19 in 165 countries. Over 1.4 billion learners were unable to attend universities or schools around the world. Covid-19 affected over 350 million learners in India. This changed the way of the traditional education system into the way of online educational technologies in which the practice of teaching and assessments went online. Covid-19 had both positive and negative impacts on the Indian Education system are observed. The education administration had to shift to online classes from offline classes. The debate on online classes vs offline classes caused a stir during the pandemic.
The pandemic has affected the social as well as the economic progress of the country. It affected major development sectors like the agriculture sector, transportation sector, healthcare sector, and education sector. The effects are troubling on the Indian education system because India sums up the largest population in the world. India has the most individuals below the age of 25.
How did COVID-19 affect the education system in India and start the online classes vs offline classes debate:
Transformation to Online classes – India had to close its schools for offline classes and move on to online learning methods just like many other countries. This change lead to difficulties for individuals who didn’t have any internet facilities and nor had any form of a communication device. The rural households were among the most affected communities as only 10 percent of such households have internet access.
Increase in drop-out rate of students – The impact of the pandemic on the economic standing of households led to many students dropping out of schools and universities and switching to work and helping their families. This majorly affected low-income families, who are unable to afford schooling for their children. During the pandemic, many students struggled to maintain their educational needs.
Postponement of examinations – With many schools closing, the government also postponed several ongoing and later examinations. These examinations were seen as important for many university students who were waiting to graduate and get a job.
Negative effect of the pandemic on teachers – Many teachers in India were not mentally prepared to take up the new change. They were not ready to transition from offline classes to online classes. Many teachers lacked the basic technical tools or knowledge required in online teaching to be able to teach students. This gave a rise to inefficiency in lessons. Some teachers had to opt for part-time jobs to fulfill their basic needs.
Inadequate support for students – Many students are dependent on their respective schools for meals. Several university students are also dependent on their schools for housing facilities. The closure of schools and universities led to many students living without enough food to eat or any place to have shelter.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Indian education system in a serious way. It had a similar impact as compared to other development sectors in the country. A covid-19 recovery scholarship was launched by Tiyara for providing support to students who are vulnerable financially or have lost their parents during the pandemic.
More than 70% of students currently are taking up health-related education like nursing and radiography to contribute to the needs of the healthcare system in India. Students who want to know more about the impacts of covid-19 on the education system and want to read about the online classes vs offline classes debate can access the project bot. Project bot provides information about various areas related to education and also provides students with ideas like science project ideas.