Impact of the Pandemic on Rural Education

“Children are not the face of this pandemic. But they risk being among its biggest victims.”

The crisis of the pandemic is global. Yet how the society is impacted, is uneven. The crisis of the pandemic is bound to have a dramatic long-term impact on students’ competencies and increase existing education inequalities.

It is most damaging for the already disadvantaged, the poor. Children who live in these environments are rarely exposed to professionals such as doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, teachers, accountants, or professions that call for more advanced skills and degrees. Due to unconducive situations, they already struggle with language, reading, writing, and mathematical skills.

The current covid socio economic crisis is punching more and more children into poorer households. The condition of education, health care, housing, nutrition, sanitation or water is worsening for them. The learning and education crisis is highly exacerbated in the rural milieu.

In many situations, despite remote learning policies and the presence of the necessary technology at home, children may be unable to learn.

The reasons are many. The lack of physical space is one. Children often find it difficult to find peaceful and undisturbed nooks in their households to dedicate hours to online schooling. The internet connections are poor and the teacher’s explanations can fall short of being clear. Apart from this, teacher inexperience on the digital turf can also pose a challenge. The combination of these along with the digital divide, not only reduces the quality of education imparted, but sometimes makes it impossible to trace and connect to children and get them on the virtual learning bandwagon.

Parental support is crucial when schools are replaced by learning at home. Not only are parents important for creating a conducive learning environment, but in the sphere of virtual schooling, they are instrumental and key to effective deliverance of curriculum.

Even short disruptions in children’s schooling can have long-lasting negative impacts due to factors including the lack of structured programmes for catching up. And then there could be instances of child labour or child marriage leading to sharp bends in discourse, making it impossible to get back to learning.

The pandemic has disrupted life in every corner of the world and will likely disproportionally affect those children with pre-existing vulnerabilities. Even in the absence of a global threat, children living in disadvantaged families, or those with disabilities are among the world’s most vulnerable, marginalized and stigmatized populations.

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