ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

COVID and EducationSubscribe to COVID and Education

COVID-19: Examining the Impact of Lockdown in India after One Year

One year after its announcement in March 2020, the consequences of India’s strict COVID-19 lockdown measures and ineffective policy responses continue to be felt, be it in terms of livelihood loss and economic downturn or increased marginalisation of vulnerable sections of society.

The Odd One is ‘Out’: Voices from Virtual Classrooms

This article is a response to the online classrooms initiated from April 2020 onwards in schools across the country after the declaration of the lockdown. As classes went live in some parts of the country and several schools prepped towards the new medium, voices and experiences emerged from the field to throw light on the odds. The article collects the voices of students, educators and parents largely from the cities of Delhi and Bengaluru. The narratives are to be seen against the background of the critique of auto-modernism and emergent technology-intensive social institutions in the wake of COVID-19. This perspective pieces together the issues of infrastructure inadequacy in technology and the exclusiveness of pedagogy, and charts the inability of the marginalised sections in exercising the fundamental right to education. This article also highlights that internet classrooms are temporary make-shift arrangements.

Use of EdTech in Indian School Education during COVID-19

The pandemic has exposed inequity as an immediate concern. This article draws its insights on ground issues faced by schoolteachers from across the country in their efforts to connect with their students during phases of online teaching at a time of social distancing. By reflecting on these insights, we indicate some aspects that can be focused on for systematic strengthening by the government and other organisations in the coming months, for a relatively seamless and synchronous teaching–learning experience.

Neo-liberal Reforms in Higher Education Accelerated by the Pandemic

Neo-liberalism’s claim of being the vanguard of individual freedom works asthe basis of popular support foreducation systemreforms, which aim at making society receptive to the principles of free market. In the process, contents and methods of teaching–learning are redesigned to build public consent for those reforms, while the real objectives are to possibly ensure a steady flow of skilled human resource for the market. The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant changes in the education system are being used to increase acceptability of the reforms.

Of Access and Inclusivity

Can online education enable all students to participate in and benefit from it equally? Massive online education without addressing the huge access gap and disparities in digital infrastructure would not only exclude a vast majority of students from learning opportunities but also exacerbate the existing socio-economic disparities in educational opportunities.

What Is So Wrong with Online Teaching?

A university teacher assesses what is wrong in visualising the online space as a place for regular education. In the context of the pandemic, the situation is even worse, not better, for the suitability of online teaching as a surrogate. It also has a particularly heinous effect for women, both female students and female family members. Given the grossly unequal burden of domestic work that women share at home, often the female students would have to take up additional domestic responsibilities during lockdown. In a different situation, enforced carving out of silence and privacy in the cramped domestic space may imply that the mother adjusts her own work-time and domestic schedule silently.

Walls That Speak

In a time when online education is becoming prevalent, an aspect of it that needs to be discussed is that of social disparities and embarrassments made visible by video conferencing. Visual backgrounds in these conferences can be looked at as a concrete entry point into how the system displaces a large section of students from access to and equity in education.
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