The COVID-19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc across the world, and one of the crucial sectors of everyday life that has been affected significantly is schooling and education. From the international context, schools closed in China as long back as in December, but their schools have begun to reopen slowly. The US and UK, on the other hand, have been dismal in their management of a virus that has caused far less disruption in developing countries. As a result, the schooling system is now in shambles, and every time educational institutions try to reopen, they get inundated with more Coronavirus cases; thus, the schedules have been shambolic.
The Indian education system has suffered on a line similar to that the US followed. However, having learnt from the US, most schools and colleges have decided not to reopen as planned- given that the severity of the cases cannot be determined without having a sample batch. It is unethical to put students’ lives in danger, so plans for reopening have been slow, but sound promising.
Indian educational institutions have made plans for online classes, but the difference in value provided between the two types of classes highlight the actual effect and actual cost of shifting from the online mode to the offline mode.
Schools have been affected by infrastructure costs, as well as costs to provide stationery; this is mainly seen in small schools and is uncommon in large, well-known schools, or a chain of schools across the country. Schools have also been affected in terms of salaries; while hikes in fees have been monitored, there is no corresponding increase in the salaries of teachers or support staff.
This series of events has been one of the more massive impacts of the pandemic. Teachers are often forced to go out of their way to provide for the students, while the support staff often fears off-loading due to the shortage of funds, and students are left to wonder what the fee hike has done in increasing the efficiency of online schooling.
High schools and colleges are feeling the full effect of the pandemic, even though these institutions are making maximum efforts to engage the students and get them to do the same. The primary reason is that the house is not a teaching area once a child grows up beyond a certain age, even though it will always be a space where one can learn.
Students often come to school or college to learn in a conducive environment, because their homes may not be helpful (parents or siblings being abusive, lack of online infrastructure and learning methods, living in an area that is not peaceful, etc.) or because they feel that the school/college may have more support structures (supportive teachers, supportive classmates and a close group of friends).
Thus, we can observe that the effect of the pandemic has been multifold. It has not only affected schools economically but has also hurt people economically, spiritually and most importantly, mentally.
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