Study shows ‘Learning loss’ in children due to closure of schools; here’s what data shows about elementary schools in Karnataka

By: |
September 21, 2021 4:09 PM

Earlier this year, over 18,385 children in the age group of 3-16 years in 13,365 households were surveyed in Karnataka as a part of the ASER exercise.

karnatakaThe study shows the effects on learning can be worse for children coming into the categories of economically weaker backgrounds and those who are unable to access resources for online learning (Photo: IE)

Karnataka schools: The schools have started reopening in some states in a phased manner following the decline in active covid cases. The schools remain shut owing to covid pandemic from March 2020. The entire education system morphed into online classes. A report by ASER, India’s definitive status-of-education, shows how the closure of schools have impacted the learning of children in school. The data compiled by ASER in February-March this year shows the learning loss in India. Take a look.

Potential learning loss in children

There are growing concerns over some children not wanting to return to schools followed by potential learning loss due to children being out from schools for a significant period of time–a year and half per se. This can be true to young children who just started their school journey or started with learning foundational skills–like reading. They are less able to come to terms with remote learning methods followed by almost all the schools these days. This will hinder and impact the children’s ability to cope with school curriculum in later years when schools will be reopened full fledged. The study shows the effects on learning can be worse for children coming into the categories of economically weaker backgrounds and those who are unable to access resources for online learning. It is also for those children who have adequate learning support at home.

How can we measure the impact of school closures for India?

In order to understand the immediate effects of school closure on children’s ability to learn, schools need to be reopened first and attendance needs to be stabilised. But for now, all we can do is compare the evidence from previous times with the data collected recently. Until schools reopen and children start coming to school regularly, we will not be able to access much information.

ASER data: Karnataka elementary school

The last nationwide ASER was conducted in 2018. The study encompassed close to 600 rural districts across the country. The data helped with providing the districts and state-level estimates for basic reading, arithmetic and enrollment. The fresh round of the ASER household survey was scheduled to be conducted in September 2020, but it could not take place due to covid-19 pandemic. In February-March 2021, the officials get the chance to meet children in villages. This opportunity helped them to explore how their learning has been impacted due to school closure, reported The Indianexpress.com. The study could, however, be successfully completed in Karnataka only.

Key findings from Karnataka study

Earlier this year, over 18,385 children in the age group of 3-16 years in 13,365 households were surveyed in Karnataka as a part of the ASER exercise. The survey was conducted across 670 villages in 24 rural districts in the state. The key findings of the study showed that there was an increase in government school enrolment across all age groups compared to private schools. The percentage of 6.14 years old enrolled in government schools rose exponentially from 69.9 per cent to 72.6 per cent, as quoted by Indianexpress.com.

The second highlight showed that there has been a huge drop when it comes to learning levels such as reading and numeracy–especially in primary classes. The evidence shows that there has been a significant ‘learning loss’ in Karnataka in both kinds of schools–private and government.

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