A pandemic-optimized plan for kids to resume their education
India’s hard-won educational gains could be lost if we don’t mount a sorely-needed rescue mission
Schools must reopen and our children must return to education. They have been effectively shut since March 2020. Just as they had started opening up, a second wave of the pandemic overwhelmed India. This period has made the inefficacy of online education clear. Some systematic state efforts and voluntary initiatives by teachers for in-person engagement, including mohalla classes, have been laudable but grossly inadequate to compensate for closed schools. Not only have our children lost over a year of education, they have also lost a lot of what they had learnt before—the phenomenon of learning loss. Economic devastation, combined with a break in habit, may result in large numbers of students dropping out. This would undermine decades of effort and hard-won gains. This pandemic has driven education into an unprecedented crisis. Our response has been insufficient on most fronts and cavalier on others.