At present, we all are living in a world which we have not imagined so far. The huge waves of corona pandemic hit across whole word. Leaving no place unhampered. Our society get collapsed and economy is ruined. When all corners of the world is affected, our educational system too get interrupted. This is evident when , the schools, colleges and universities were shutdown across our country by mid of March 2020 to reduce the spreading of virus and for ensuring social distance. In order to cope up with this situation and to ensure valuable time of students were not wasted it become a pressing duty on the part of teachers, parents, and authorities concerned to search for a new alternative of transferring knowledge to all. This point mark as a huge shift from the so called traditional method of education to a newer method of education through digital Platforms called “online education”.
Once we deviate from the pattern of learning which we were familiar for so long and started learning through virtual classrooms, webinars, online meetings ,exam and, video conferencing , everyone of us faced great uncertainty and doubt regarding how this new method will be progressing forward. What is required here is to adopt and adapt to this new world. This was one of the challenge among many. Why this is so because education is strongest wealth of any country. When education is provided to a generation we can say that a better society has been created. So education is something we can’t compromise. Once we get slowly adapted to the new form Of learning. We started to realise it’s possible drawbacks and difficulties in operation.
Despite many difficulties created by online education, It had come up with certain positives. “online education saves many. ” classrooms like any other place will be actively occupied during classes so there will be a greater chance of spreading virus. Digital learning helps to handle this situation by balancing learning on other hand ie, we are able to continue our learning without sacrificing our life.
Online learning reduced the cost of learning materials and travel expenses and other expenses which we have to bear if we are moving to schools and colleges. The true fact is that this cost will be much less than what we have to bear for attending online classes.
RIGHT TO EDUCATION
Even if there are advantages provided by online education. The biggest drawback put forward by this new system is it cast a huge hurdle on our ‘RIGHT TO EDUCATION’.Education is strongest weapon a man will ever had. It develops human, socially and psychologically. Nation have to educate it’s citizen, who will be informed, strong, and creative. Education is not bounty but our it’s our right. Right to education ha s accorded the status of Fundamental right by 86th amendment to Indian Constitution in 2002,it was added to part 3 of the Constitution. The same amendment inserted Article 21A which made right to educational a fundamental right for the children between the age of 6-14 years of age.
IMPACT OF PANDEMIC : RIGHT TO EDUCATION
#) This basic fundamental right get badly affected by online education ,it have many reasons as well. First and foremost , when corona brought serious economic crisis, it increased the level of unemployment throughout the country, where families try hard to meet their necessary needs. Here online education of their children in each family requiring expensive infrastructure such as internet connectivity, Television ,mobile phones, computers become a luxury which they could not afford. Parents finding difficult to meet the ends of life are willing to sacrifice on their child’s learning. This is mostly true in the case of poor households of rural villages of India.
In a survey conducted by ‘save the children ‘2020 , during pandemic period, report suggests discontinuation of students learning from 62 percent of the surveyed household is with 67 percent in rural. And 55 per cent from urban areas.
#)Child labour has been increased in an unprecedented rates , only reason behind this can be children who are dropping out from school as they can’t bear the cost might moving out to get engaged in any economic activity and helps parents in earning. In total we can say that economic crisis as a result of corona pandemic indirectly infringed children’s right to education.
#)Taking into consideration school level Education, classroom provide child a place to learn new things everyday, they will develop their social skills, learn to communicate and interact. . This is what we can call as early childhood education and care, it can be provided to a child through pre school trainings and anganwadis, by which a child is developed physically, and mentally. So, the closure of schools and shift to online classrooms put a bar on these opportunities which will otherwise be provided by class rooms. This can be considered as a form of infringing child’s right to education as what a offline schooling can contribute to a child’s life cannot be equated with learning in front of machines.
#)Once the schools and colleges were closed concerning the health and safety of the students. Whole learning process being shifted to online , digital and e learning platforms, government portals, direct to home channels become common , which created another crisis. This sharpened the differences and inequality which is already existing between the poor students in rural areas, and their affluent counterparts in urban households. The major reason for this is that , learning through new methods posed a challenge for students and created differences among students who find difficult to have access to basic infrastructures required to attend online classes, such as internet connection, smartphones, computers, electricity connection in one hand and those students who can afford these requirements to continue with education, this situation can often called as ‘digital divide’.
As per MOSPI reports only 4.4 percent household in India have computer as compared to 23.4 percent houses have computer facility.
Here ,we can see that, our basic fundamental right is being infringed only on the reason that someone is financially backward and economically underprivileged so that he/she can’t enjoy their fundamental right. This is one of the harsh reality faced even today by the poor students of rural India,. Only because of their poor background they couldn’t cherish their dreams of getting educated.
#)Online learning make the situation more difficult for students of non stable financial background. There are many children in school especially in rural India who depended on mid day meals to feed themselves. It might be their food for the entire day. Mid day meal programme is something launched by our government as a part of five year planning, while keeping in mind many hidden intentions, to make more students to attend the class, to feed the hungry and to ensure malnutrition in children under control. When the school get closed students who depend on this find difficult to feed them. They searched new jobs in small age to earn for living.
#)Gender inequality to get educated is another difficulty created by c pandemic . Families in low income strata ,didn’t give much importance to girl child’s learning, it’s result become more severe after this pandemic because families didn’t put any initiate to continue and complete the education of girls when school going is stopped by pandemic they are more encouraged to make them involved in household chores and so there was an increased dropouts as well. When this inequality in education exist girls find it difficult to get any job, increased chance of being exploited. This is something which can be overcome by strongly enforcing the basic fundamental right ‘ right to education. ‘
MEASURES TO BE ADOPTED.
In order to reduce school dropouts during corona pandemic government has to provide all types of financial support to keep students active in learning and to ensure they are not been affected by difficulties of low income in their families, for this govt has to provide scholarship and other non monetary facilities for online education such as electricity connection in all rural households, mobile phones, Or laptops, television etc.
For reducing child labour, already existing laws for preventing child labour has to be implemented strongly at the same time government has to take over the whole expense of students education. And should provide them facilities to take part in online education in safe environment. The new phenomenon called digital divide which is the result of inequal availability of digital facilities to continue with online education can be minimised by effective involvement and efforts from the part of government to provide with all facilities to students especially in poor households.
Any kind of benefits such as provision for mid day meals had to be made available for students in their homes itself, will helps to maintain a situation once students enjoyed to get feeded from. Schools.
Pandemic is continuing day by day, schools and colleges remain closed , education has to be continued in most effective way in online mode with all kind of supports and cooperation from concerned authority and government. Right to education being a fundamental right has to be protected enforced , in order to ensure wellbeing and success of country.
Author: Shyma Habeeb from School of Indian Legal Thought, MG University.