Report suggests ways to make up for the learning loss due to coronavirus outbreak in the country and the way forward.
Coronavirus impact on school learning: With the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus in India, students have not been able to attend schools for four months now. While there have been many online classes, a gap in learning is expected and the implications of not attend schools in person (regardless of online classes that are being conducted) can only be mapped once the schools reopen. According to a report by The Indian Express, Rukmini Banerji, CEO of Pratham Education Foundation (an NGO working in the field of providing education for young) said that going forward, educational institutes have to adopt different approaches to make up for the learning loss that is expected this year.
It is to note that learning loss can simply be defined as the loss that may be caused during a long vacation (like summer vacations). Citing a study conducted last year in Uttar Pradesh, Banerji pointed out that after the summer break, students in lower classes (standard-II, III, and IV) have had their reading skills reduced to 10 per cent. The data is calculated based on ASER measurements that are done each year around October to check the learning abilities of students. Rukmini Banerji said that these learnings have been increasing year-on-year since 2016. However, with the sudden closure of schools this year due to coronavirus outbreak is going to impact learning.
According to the report, the overall learning is now going to depend on the kind of activities that schools will start and sustain once they reopen. With this, Banerji believes that there is still a possibility of “learning gain” and for it to be achieved, schools cannot return to “business as usual”. Further, it was highlighted that whenever the schools resume, children should be “met at their own level.”
Now the question is what should be done to bridge the learning gap? The report noted that teachers should conduct oral one-on-one assessment of the student’s capability—be it arithmetic or reading, and this should be done by each teacher with each child. It is believed that this will help teachers reconnect with students individually and give them an idea of the current spread of learning levels in the batch. These exercises need to be done for a few hours every day whenever the schools reopen and should continue till summer vacations in 2021. Moreover, there will be many students who have fallen behind the syllabus. Therefore, it is crucial that schools come up with teaching methods that address the concerns about equity in class.