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challenge of schooling India’s offline millions

Why in news?

A whopping 1.6 billion young people, or about 90% of the world’s student population, were shut out of school and university due to measures to contain covid-19 in the month of April.

Education emergency

9.7 million children are affected by school closures and face the risk of never going back to class,

In addition to the social fallouts, the economic fallout of the crisis could force an extra 90 to 120 million children into poverty, affecting school admission and pushing child labour.

India’s situation

  • India has one-third of the world’s poorest children.
  • Alarm bells rang as reports said that less than half of India’s seven-year olds could read at grade level.
  • A recent report by UNICEF and the International Labour Organization says that the pandemic is likely to undo a 20-year battle against child labour.
  • Schools and colleges have been quick to adapt to online learning. However, digital access and connectivity challenges are creating a widening chasm between those who will continue to learn and those who will not.
  • Over 31 million children depend on the anganwadi network for early learning, health and nutrition. It is critical that these centres reopen

Way forward

By adapting to available technologies, like television, radio, mobile phone or even the loudspeaker, it is possible to think creatively and reach the farthest child. We must find ways to address this emergency, else our demographic dividend turns into a disaster.

Thank you!

November 2023