School Closures: Facing Challenges of Learning Loss in India
Keywords:Learning loss, School closures, Digital tools, Online learning
Background: Learning losses does not mean forgetting only curricular learning but slipping back of fundamental learning abilities that learner would have acquired during schooling. School closures in India have severely disrupted learning processes of children resulting in learning losses and social gaps in academic outcomes. Though school closure is a global phenomenon, its adverse effects on learning outcomes are unevenly distributed in the society.
Purpose: The paper aims to trace the phenomenon of learning losses resulting from a prolonged school closures during COVID 19 pandemic at the national level since march 2020.The study further is directed to trace accessibilities and uses of digital resources in India.
Method: The study used secondary sources of data mainly of Bihar to ascertain the trend of learning losses. The data were regenerated to measure the emerging trend. Results: Learning loss was unevenly distributed in the society. Those who were digitally equipped had compensated their learning losses during school closures. The Bihar had mere 5 per cent computer and 15 internet facilities. The rural households had only 3 per cent computer and 13 per cent internet facilities. Primary grade children especially of disadvantaged groups in Bihar suffered more because they have very limited home learning resources. Learning crisis was more prominent at elementary school level where both the home resources and digital tools were inadequate. They spent hours in surfing social media for private purposes. The phenomenon of cyber loafing was widely seen among young students, showing a serious problem of internet abuse by secondary school students.
Conclusion: Despite constraints Bihar managed to continue school learning programme during COVID 19. It had a largest force of digitally-equipped teachers (about 1.25 lakh) known as Potential Learning Community (PLC) who were ready to deliver e-contents to beneficiaries. Teachers established connectivity with parents and learners who had no android mobile. They started running Schools on Mobile (SOM) classes. The paper discusses learning recovery plan such as engaging community, reallocating resources for schools, etc.
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Based on a work at https://iie.chitkara.edu.in