Home >Education >News >Why India needs to invest for safeguarding education from Covid-like crisis in future
UN Chief has said the pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history, with schools closed in over 160 countries in mid-July, and more than one billion students affected
UN Chief has said the pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history, with schools closed in over 160 countries in mid-July, and more than one billion students affected

Why India needs to invest for safeguarding education from Covid-like crisis in future

  • The global health crisis arising out of Covid-19 has impacted several schoolchildren
  • In India, over 1.5 million schools have been closed due to the pandemic affecting 286 million children from pre-primary to secondary levels, of which 49% are girls

The Contingency Emergency Response Component (CERC) under the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project approved by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday may help education systems to fight the health crisis emerging out of situations such as Covid-19.

The CERC would enable it to be more responsive to any natural, man-made and health disasters. It will help the government respond to situations leading to loss of learning such as school closures or infrastructural damage, inadequate facilities and use technology for facilitating remote learning, etc, the government said. The CERC component would facilitate the rapid re-categorization of financing and the utilization of streamlined financing request procedures.

The global health crisis arising out of Covid-19 has impacted several schoolchildren. In India, over 1.5 million schools have been closed due to the pandemic affecting 286 million children from pre-primary to secondary levels, of which 49% are girls. This adds to the 6 million girls and boys who were already out of school prior to the covid-19, a UNICEF report released in August said.

Government, NGOs and start-ups have been innovating and investing in various programs to mitigate the impact of covid-19. For instance, NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in July launched the ‘ATL App Development Module’ for school children all across the country. The ATL App Development modules were launched in collaboration with Indian homegrown startup Plezmo with an aim to hone the skills of school students and transforming them from App users to App makers in the times to come under AIM’s flagship Atal Tinkering Labs initiative.

“Only studying regular subjects won't help. Developing 21st-century skills which include communication skills, teamwork, leadership qualities, etc. are also required. Currently the world is facing an unprecedented challenge with covid-19. When students are at home, skill development should be encouraged," said R Ramanan, Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog.

Similarly, Learning Links Foundation, an NGO launched CODETHON 2020, a coding challenge for Navy Children School students during the lockdown. CODETHON 2020 was a part of ‘Learn to Code’ initiative under the larger Veterans Skilling Program supported by The Boeing Company in India, an American multinational corporation that designs, manufactures, and sells airplanes, rotorcraft, rockets, satellites, telecommunications equipment, and missiles worldwide.

Boeing has partnered with Learning Links Foundation for diverse skilling programs for youth, veterans and their families across multiple locations in India in alignment with government’s vision of developing a skilled and self-reliant nation.

“The new education policy enables introducing coding in grade six. Coding is not just the common thread between specialist fields like artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics, and cloud computing. It is a great way to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which scientists and engineers – including aerospace engineers – spend a lot of time studying and using to extract insights, improve processes, and transform their work," Salil Gupte, President Boeing India said.

Over 170 students are presently a part of ‘Learn to Code’ and 76 entries from 54 students were received for CODETHON 2020. All participants and winners of CODETHON 2020 were awarded with DIY robotics kits on Tuesday.

In yet another development, in order to provide uninterrupted online learning to millions of students across the country, the government’s All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has partnered with Microsoft to empower learners and educators with future-ready skills.

Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, Ministry of Education maintained that upskilling is very important to enhance employability opportunities for students. Talking about continuity of learning in times of health crisis such as covid-19, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India said, “Covid-19 has accelerated the need for upskilling and has shown clearly that the future of learning will be profoundly personalized and supported by technology.

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