Has online education widened the learning gap?


According to a survey, the learning gap between children from well-to-do families and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds has widened. It is now widely recognized that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant learning losses among students due to disruptions in the education system. However, learning gaps do not even exist between social groups. According to parents who took part in a National Coalition on the Education Emergency survey between October 2021 and January 2022, the learning gap between children from affluent families and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds has widened. . The report, Cries of Anguish, attributed the disparity to a number of factors, including unequal access to online courses, unequal parental guidance skills and the impact of tutoring. The majority of the 512 households surveyed belonged to disadvantaged social classes; only 24% of parents in Telangana and 4% of parents in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka worked in the formal economy respectively. The study came to the conclusion that those who can rely on parental supervision can benefit the most from technology-driven education – e-learning. compared to only 50% of parents of higher socioeconomic status (SES). The majority of respondents said online learning had a negative impact on their children’s reading and writing skills. Schools have been forced by the pandemic to quickly move to online teaching. Since then, a number of studies have expressed concern about how difficult it is for children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds to access education. There are other related difficulties. According to a UNICEF report, children who spend a lot of time alone at home do not develop the social skills that come from interacting with their peers. The central government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, has enthusiastically endorsed e-learning despite these disadvantages. The National Education Policy, 2020 suggested using platforms like Swayam and Diksha and prioritizes digital learning. There is an urgent need to assess to what extent digital education aggravates already existing inequalities. Catch-up programs must now be put in place as schools across the country reopen to help students get back on track. Families who have taken their children out of school should receive incentives, which could lead to an increase in the number of school dropouts. Future generations will be affected by learning loss if targeted action is not taken to close the gap.

By Subhechcha Ganguly

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