The time of COVID-19 pandemic brings us a new set of challenges. While government and education impact bodies were striving hard and still is, to improve the learning outcome of government school students, this pandemic has now challenged us to come up with ways to keep the learning going. It is good to see the combined efforts of government- central and state, edtech companies, not for profit organisations and schools to ensure non stop learning of all students.
But, especially in the context of government school students, we have to see where we are going. Various state governments have initiated live classes through local news channels, released mobile applications for fun based learning, utilising radio and many more innovative ways such as learning through WhatsApp. All approaches are good substitutes to have but do they guarantee students are really learning. My answer is without proper teaching guidance and assessment of the knowledge, it is hard to affirm. Also, a large proportion of students are from a low-income background who are struggling for meals and money despite the effort of our government in assuring meals to everyone. It is the time of harvesting and the hard reality is that students go to farms to work. There are many such cases and it is difficult to say what proportion of students are studying, studying but not learning at a good pace or not studying at all.
We all are very sure that one day this pandemic will end and we will win. In the near future there new approaches will disrupt the way education is imparted in institutions from school to colleges. The sophisticated institutions like private schools, colleges have the resources to get back on track. But special attention needs to be given to government school students. The action plan to compensate the learning loss caused due to this pandemic should be made understanding the resources and practicality of the government school ecosystem.
A proposed approach can be, every state designs a one or two-month fast track learning drive plan for every class of every subject, preparing teachers first who have access to the internet and can be communicated easily. Once the situation is under control, the first challenge would be bringing students to school, teachers and bodies working with government schools know the depth of this task. Once there is a fair strength in the class, the teachers can start executing the learning plan dedicatedly to pace up with the academic goals. To practice this, the government needs to start planning from today itself. Six months down the line, we can conduct assessment of the students to affirm their learning is unaffected despite the challenge.