Covid led to a gigantic loss in education, ‘India solution’ needed: World Bank | Mint
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Business News/ News / India/  Covid led to a gigantic loss in education, ‘India solution’ needed: World Bank
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Covid led to a gigantic loss in education, ‘India solution’ needed: World Bank

The World Bank has stressed that the global crisis needs an ‘India solution’ since the country accounts for one in every five children in the world

Jaime Saavedra, global director, Education for World Bank.Premium
Jaime Saavedra, global director, Education for World Bank.

The World Bank is staring at a "global crisis" and has warned that there has been a "gigantic impact" on children because of the two years of Covid-induced school closures. It has noted an increase in anxiety and depression amongst children. The World Bank has stressed that the global crisis needs an "India solution" since the country accounts for one in every five children in the world.

"We at the World Bank are worried about a global crisis, India accounts for one in every five children in the world. The global crisis won’t be solved without progress in India", Jaime Saavedra, global director, Education for World Bank told Mint. "The global crisis requires an Indian solution. It is critical on commitment needed from financial, technical and political perspective," he added.

The World Bank’s education portfolio in the country stands at $2.1 billion.

Saavedra’s warnings came on the back of schools reopening after almost a two-year pandemic led closure. The World Bank has noted that although schools have reopened, there are dropouts as many children are supporting their families financially.

“The benefits are not here clear of the school closures, but the costs are now very (clear). The costs for children are gigantic. Almost two years of learning losses is a gigantic impact," the global director added.

In a joint statement in March-World Bank, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that Covid's impediment in learning could lead to the loss of a generation. "Less than half of countries are implementing learning recovery strategies at scale to help children catch up, the statement said.

Its data showed that combined 2 trillion hours of in-person schooling lost due to school closures since March 2020, students in more than 4 in 5 countries have fallen behind in their learning.

“We see small exposure of children to education; we see increased rate of anxiety and aggression depression amongst children. Social space disappeared for children for a long time," Saavedra said.

The pandemic has specially impacted children who are living below the poverty line or with special abilities. The March statement cautioned that children have forgotten how to read and write; some are unable to recognise letters. "Without urgent remedial action, this could carry serious lifelong consequences in terms of health and well-being, future learning and employment," the statement said.

In its report-'The State of Global Education Crisis'-World Bank, UNICEF and UNESCO charted out the global disruption to education during Covid. According to the report seen by Mint, in rural Karnataka (India) the share of grade three students in government schools able to perform simple subtraction fell from 24% in 2018 to only 16% in 2020.

Saavedra pointed out that amongst remedial measures one needs to adapt teaching methods and prioritise curriculum.

"Curriculum changes take time and we don't have that. India and many others have dense subjects. We need to be pragmatic that we may not be able to cover all subjects. Let's not be straightjacketed. We need to prioritise learning," he said.

Bringing in volunteers, putting in extra hours may help to maximize the effectiveness of the hours the child has in school.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devina Sengupta
Devina Sengupta reports on the shifts in India Inc’s workplaces, HR policies and writes about the developments at India’s biggest conglomerates. Her stories over the last decade have been picked up and followed by Indian and international news outlets. She joined Mint in 2022 and previously worked with The Economic Times and DNA-Money.
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Published: 10 Apr 2022, 05:59 PM IST
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