SEATTLE, Washington — The coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed everyday life for people across the globe. As a developing country with the second largest population in the world, India is dealing with the full consequences of COVID-19. One obstacle the country has faced since the pandemic hit is in continuing a quality level of education for their students. The effects of COVID-19 on students in India have brought many issues to light, but communities across the country have rallied in support of their students in a multitude of ways.
Since the coronavirus first appeared, 320 million students in India have been directly affected by school closures. Closures have pushed India towards a modernized, digital style of teaching. However, this solution comes with its own unique set of problems.
The National Sample Survey of 2017 to 2018 reported that only 23.8% of Indian households had any type of internet access. Furthermore, there is a gender disparity in internet access. Only 16% of women have mobile internet access compared to 36% of their male counterparts. In addition to the gender gap, there is a class divide in place with the impoverished students of India having the least access to the internet.
What Is Being Done
Urvashi Sahni, the founder and CEO of the Study Hall Educational Foundation, has worked toward reaching out to as many students as possible and successfully connected to 70% of their student body. Also, teachers are utilizing digital volunteers in continuing education for low-access students by using methods such as teaching through phone calls or messages.
Another issue emerged when panic quickly spread among communities due to COVID-19, but teachers did their best to put families at ease. With many of their students being financially affected, instructors sent out e-flyers with information on relief measurements provided by the government of India and other organizations. Furthermore, instructors provided detailed, scientific information about COVID-19 to ensure both students and parents were well-educated on the virus. SHEF and teachers have put efforts into alleviating the impact of COVID-19 on students in India.
Education in India
India ranks first for the world’s largest youth population at an astounding 600 million people under the age of 25. This statistic is significant in the sense that not only does the current education climate affect India, but it also affects global education. Many graduating seniors are facing travel and financial restrictions, reducing the overall number of students that will pursue education overseas.
Also, entrance exams have been postponed and, in turn, delayed admission processes for many seniors. Expanding outside of grade school, graduating college students will find themselves in a low-demand job market. The difficulty of finding a job during a pandemic will increase India’s overall unemployment rates. Regardless of these challenges caused by the pandemic, positive changes are occurring.
Positive Changes to Education in India
For graduating seniors in grade school, guidance counselors are equipped to provide both emotional and educational support for their students. They aim to ensure that seniors feel comfortable discussing how the coronavirus has affected their personal lives, while also providing a list of options best fit for them in regards to pursuing higher education. Although there will be fewer students studying abroad, universities and colleges in India will be enhanced with many top-tier students attending national schools.
Another benefit of digital teaching is that teachers can participate in enhanced collaborative learning. This style allows instructors from different countries to connect and support one another in teaching their students, which builds a global, mutually beneficial relationship. Despite all the barriers, communities are displaying resilience in alleviating the consequences of COVID-19 on students in India.
The pandemic has presented a whole new set of challenges that countries are currently attempting to overcome. India is just one of the countries that have been affected in numerous ways. India is currently dealing with the millions of students directly affected by this pandemic. Despite its barriers, India has proven its country’s willingness to support the education of its future generation.
– Bolorzul Dorjsuren