GS Paper - 2 (Education)

There have been "catastrophic consequences" of the prolonged school closure in the country due to Covid-19, with over 37 per cent of students in rural areas not studying at all and 48 per cent not being able to read more than a few words, a recent survey has claimed. The School Children's Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) survey, titled "Locked Out: Emergency Report on School Education" was conducted in August and was released.

What

  1. The School Children's Online and Offline Learning (SCHOOL) survey, titled "Locked Out: Emergency Report on School Education", involving nearly 1,400 students from underprivileged households was conducted in August in 15 states and union territories. It was released on 6 September 2021.
  2. In rural areas, only 28 per cent of children were studying regularly at the time of the survey, and 37 per cent were not studying at all.
  3. The results of a simple reading test are particularly alarming: nearly half of all children in the sample were unable to read more than a few words.
  4. The corresponding figures for students studying regularly, not studying at all, and unable to read more than a few words in urban areas were 47 per cent, 19 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively.
  5. The main findings of the SCHOOL survey are focused on the relatively deprived hamlets where children generally attend government schools.
  6. As per the report, the proportion of children who were studying online regularly was just 24 per cent and eight per cent in urban and rural areas, respectively.
  7. Lack of money, poor connectivity, or no access to smartphones were some of the reasons behind the "very limited" reach of online education among sampled students, the survey noted.
  8. The survey was conducted in 15 states and union territories - including Assam, Bihar, Delhi, Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.