Board examinations are an important part of any student’s life. However, for class 10 student Priya Soni from Ponda, the year has so far been a near-waste. With the Covid-19 pandemic forcing schools shut in several parts of the country, online classes have replaced regular schools. And Soni has not gone to school for nearly 14 months.
“Studying at home has been really challenging as there are too many distractions and very little support. I really wanted to study well this year and get a better percentage,” Priya Soni, a class 10 student from Ponda said. Soni has not gone to school for months and misses school. Soni added that she wanted to take up Science in Class 11 and wanted to make her parents proud. The constant concern about her future, however, has started to hamper her growth.
Soni’s story is the same as millions of students across India who have been pushed into the confines of their homes and forced to attend online classes to continue their education. The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the education of children. As many as 113 million children who go to government schools in India have been forced to shift to online education, which has had a compromising impact on their education. Due to economic instability or lack of access to tools for online education, millions of children are estimated to drop out of school in the coming year. When hundreds of children are at risk of getting pushed into child labour or trafficking, the Adhyayan Quality Education Foundation has started an initiative to raise funds to secure the future of schoolgoing children in Goa, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.
The initiative will cover 7,000 schools across the three states with the aim to create a strong school, system and community leaders that can help improve and sustain quality schooling through evidence-based governance.
Through an online campaign, the Foundation aims to raise Rs 30 lakh by June 10, 2021 to enable students to become “safety champions” for their own families as well as communities. These children can then implement and ensure Covid-safety protocols at home and in their communities in efforts to make reopening schools safe again. The initiative also includes helping states devise a school reopening and monitoring plan for the government school students of the three states in case schools do not open soon. This is to be done to ensure that students do not lose out on one more year.
The project also has the long-term goal of setting up mechanisms that can enable state education departments to track students’ abilities in reading and math to ensure no child falls behind.
According to World Bank estimates, the Indian economy stands to lose an estimated $420 billion in future earnings because of the loss of learned caused by the prolonged closure of schools. The initiative aims to help not only the students but also the economy in the long run.