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Reopening of schools: A concern as well as the need of the hour

-By Chandan Anand

The covid-19 pandemic gave the world several shocks. Nonetheless, this didn’t leave the education system behind. In the whole world, the total scenario of education changed. Be it, classes, lectures, assignments, and tests came online. Although while education did become available online. Schools drifted apart from students. It’s been more than a year and students still have no near hopes of enjoying school days any day soon.

As per the United Nations agency, 1.5 million schools remained closed during the 2020 lockdown, which saw the damage of study opportunities for 247 million children to be enrolled in elementary and secondary school. In addition to over six million girls and boys who were already out of school prior covid-19 the crisis began. 

Many states have decided to reopen schools, like Bihar, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. Many private colleges have reopened in metro cities but with no compulsion over attendance. In 2018 many schools were shut in Maharashtra and other states of the country. Saying there was a need to shut these schools as it was near to no use. That also made the village students travel more and did hamper their education. 

A year ago teaching went fully online but that couldn’t maintain the education wavelength. A school and college not only provide knowledge and information. It’s a place where the overall development of a person happens. A great matter of concern especially for the young kids missing primary education and basic developments. On the other hand, it has involved and taken a lot of involvement of parents to indulge their kids into studies. As a matter of concern, virtual education may ensure teaching but doesn’t ensure learning. 

UNESCO said more than 888 million children worldwide, continue to face disruption to their education due to full or partial school closure. Globally schools for more than 168 million children have been completely closed for almost a full year, as per the reports. With this, around 214 million children all over the world have missed out on three-quarters of their in-person learning. 

According to a study, only 8 Indian states and union territories have reopened schools from class I to XII. Whereas another 11 states have reopened schools for classes VI to XII and 15 states opened schools only for classes IX-XII. In addition, three states have reopened Anganwadi centers, with these younger children are losing a lot on their foundational learning phases. 

Even if schools do reopen it will not be the same again any sooner. Putting on a mask and with the fear of third-wave effecting children the most. It is again a dilemma whether children shall go to school or stay at home.

When this wasn’t enough, many schools and colleges attempted to hike fees during a pandemic. This act has to face a huge backlash from parents. While a lot of people are facing financial crunches, it is considered very insensitive by an educational institution to hike fees. On the other hand, a lot of parents demanded compensation from schools. Stating the online education does not fulfill the criteria to charge the whole fee. 

Another concern raises in judging the intellects of students who cleared exams and degrees during the pandemic. The students are going to suffer for no reason. With no doubt, we can say it has discouraged students from studying hard. In the coming days, the matter of concern is not just the reopening of school. But also reopening of a normal education environment with safety. No one knows if that time is coming any sooner.

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