MPs, education experts and teachers stressed the need to reopen schools and expressed concern about the learning losses suffered by students.
The Parliamentary Group for Children (PGC) with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Swaniti Initiative had organized an online roundtable to discuss the reopening of schools and the various measures to be taken. take towards child-centered recovery in the event of a pandemic.
During this discussion, they suggested various models for schools that would help restore normalcy and recoup learning losses.
Schools in Maharashtra resumed physical classes for grades 5 to 12 on Monday after being closed for more than a year and a half following the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Maharashtra Education Department and UNICEF Rapid Assessment Survey of November 2020, 36% of children have had no learning materials in the past 14 months since the closures and 16% children are already employed outside the home and may never return to school, UNICEF said in a statement.
“Circumstances warrant urgent action on all fronts, as this generation of children may never reach their full learning and earning capacities, which is ultimately a national loss,” the statement said.
Gaurav Gogoi, an MP, said that during their formative years, when children need the physical presence of a school to learn and grow, even beyond the realms of a textbook, the pandemic makes them forced to live a life in solitude.
“School closures come at the cost of learning. School closures have impacted learning and negatively impacted the health, nutrition and general well-being of children, including mental health in critical stages of development, ”said Gogai.
Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, head of the UNICEF Maharashtra field office, welcomed the government’s recent decision to reopen schools.
“We must now also focus on reopening primary classes given that the risk of COVID for this population is the lowest, as stated in several Lancet reports, and the learning loss is the highest, considering distance learning challenges, ”she said. noted.
MP Dr. Fauzia Khan, a prominent member of PGC, said loss of discipline among students was another problem. Many children were only physically present during the online lessons but did not learn.
“There is a global child rights crisis due to the closure of schools, especially preschool students have been most affected. We also need to ensure that the most vulnerable children, children with disabilities, are protected when it comes to education, ”says Khan.
Senior journalist Neeraja Choudhury suggested forming a group of citizens, parents, officials, teachers under the district level collector to track down the field difficulties in education.
PGC is an autonomous, non-partisan collective of MPs who propose and take action to advance the well-being and rights of children. MPs Dr Vikas Mahatme, Arvind Sawant, Sanjay Jadhav, Vandana Chavan and Hemant Godse also attended the conference.
At the conference, teachers from various parts of Maharashtra recounted their efforts to continue education in the absence of schools. Sagar Ramesh Sathe and Sneha Mohite of “Nine is Mine” presented a children’s charter of demands at the conference.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please Click here. We allow sharing of the PDF of the article on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)
Posted on: Wednesday October 06, 2021 5:10 PM IST