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The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on India’s education sector and strategies

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s education system has shifted dramatically toward online learning, changing the country’s dynamic.

State governments around the country started briefly closing schools and colleges as a precaution to curb the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic in the second week of March. It’s been nearly a month, and there’s no way of knowing when they’ll reopen. This is a critical era for the education sector, as board exams, nursery school admissions, university entrance exams, and competitive examinations, among other things, all take place during this time.

School and university closures will not only have a short-term effect on the continuity of learning for India’s more than 285 million young learners, but will also have far-reaching economic and social implications as the days pass with no immediate solution to stop the outbreak of Covid-19. The first to be impacted by these closures was the system of education and learning, including teaching and evaluation methodologies. Just a few private schools are able to use online teaching methods. On the other hand, their low-income private and public school peers have entirely shut down due to a lack of access to e-learning solutions. In addition to missing out on learning opportunities, the students no longer have access to nutritious meals during this period and are experiencing economic and social stress.

The pandemic has also had a huge impact on higher education, which is a key determinant of a country’s economic future. Indian students, second only to Chinese students, enrol in universities around the world, especially in the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and China. Many of these students have been denied entry to these countries. If the situation continues, demand for foreign higher education is projected to decrease in the long run. Needless to say, the pandemic has shifted the centuries-old chalk–talk teaching paradigm to a technology-driven one. This change in the way education is delivered is forcing policymakers to find out how to increase participation at a large scale while still maintaining inclusive e-learning strategies and bridging the digital divide.

To manage the crisis and develop a long-term resilient Indian education system, a multi-pronged strategy is needed. One, urgent action is needed to ensure that learning in government schools and universities continues. Teachers can use open-source digital learning solutions and Learning Management Software to hold online classes. The DIKSHA network, which has a presence in all Indian states, can be further developed to ensure that students have access to learning. Traditional expertise from India is well-known around the world for its technological advances, principles, and benefits in the development of sustainable technology and medicines. Yoga, Indian medicines, architecture, hydraulics, ethnobotany, metallurgy, and agriculture courses on Indian traditional information systems should be combined with a modern-day mainstream university education to serve the greater cause of humanity.

In this time of crisis, a well-rounded and effective educational practice is what is needed for the capacity-building of young minds. It will develop skills that will drive their employability, productivity, health, and well-being in the decades to come, and ensure the overall progress of India.

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