World Bank Warns Of New Learning Crisis During Lockdown
A world that was already dealing with a learning crisis, World Bank says, now has a new challenge
World Bank data on schools shows that schools have been closed for over 3 crore students in India. A world that was already dealing with a learning crisis, World Bank says, now has a new challenge before it.
In India, educational institutes remain closed with no indication of any relaxation on restrictions for at least a month. The education ministries, both central and state, have been promoting digital modes of education and been arranging classes through television and radio channels to reach maximum students.
The current crisis has brought forth a digital divide in learning as well. While some students have been able to carry on with their studies in the new session through online methods and television and radio channels, the situation is not mirrored for students who either come from economically-weaker backgrounds and have no access to technology and devices needed for online studies or reside in an area with no internet connectivity or both.
"The paradox facing all countries is that, while these technological solutions seem to be the best way to minimize huge learning losses during the crisis (especially for vulnerable students), they also risk further widening equity gaps in education. Thus, if the digital gap in education were to increase while schools are closed, learning inequality and learning poverty would also inevitably increase," Juan Manuel Moreno and Lucas Gortazar write for World Bank blog on education.
Among the plans to bridge the digital divide, Indian Government is planning to make use of analog spectrum of radio and TV which are no longer in use due to digitalization, to connect people online in remote areas. However, it can take some time before this could become a reality and even after that the government will need to invest in ICT training of both teachers and students.
Indian government has proposed 'Operation Digital Board' for all government and government-aided secondary and senior secondary schools. Under this initiative each school will be provided with two Digital Boards, DD free dish antenna, and pre-loaded pen drives with contents from class 1 to class 12. While this will prove to be the first step towards setting up smart classes for government school students, it would take a long time before the digital learning divide is bridged.
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