A survey by a body of academicians and activists covering 1,071 Haryana households — mostly belonging to SCs and Backward Castes — has claimed that “only 14.1 per cent students from Class 2 to 6 are studying regularly through the online mode during the pandemic period”. The study has found that “85.9 per cent found it difficult to study online due to various reasons”.

The academics conducted the survey under the banner of Haryana Gyan Vigyan Samiti between August 16 to 24. According to Samiti’s Joint Secretary Suresh Kumar, the volunteers picked only one student from every household for the survey, which was conducted in as many as 120 villages and 47 urban colonies of nine districts.

As many as 74.1 per cent of the students covered under the survey were from Scheduled Castes (42.3%) and Backward Castes (31.8%).

Referring to the outcome of the study over online education, Samiti’s secretary Pramod Gouri said: “During the survey the parents said their wards had lost interest in studies and that necessary learning skills attained before the lockdown have gone. The children played all day long while their parents went to work.
Their parents said online education was neither accessible nor feasible for their wards and they wanted their wards to go to schools on a daily basis. Most parents also felt that only teachers could provide good education to children and that “classrooms were the places where children could learn.”

Among the students covered in the study, as many as 75.4 per cent were studying in government schools, while 24.3 per cent were going to the private schools and the remaining 0.3% were studying in madrasas.
During the study, Gouri said, as many as 33.6 per cent of the parents claimed that their wards did not get food grains or cash in lieu of mid-day meals for the period of online classes during Covid-19 lockdown. “We express concern on the fate of these underprivileged children as online education cannot be an alternative for the marginalised sections of the society. If adopted, this mode of imparting education would create a digital divide in the country.”

In an online survey in 2020, the state education department had found that as many as 85 per cent parents, whose wards were studying in Class 10 and 12 in government schools, were in favour of reopening of schools from September 2020 despite the pandemic. Nearly, 76,000 parents had participated in the survey.

The state had reopened middle, high and senior secondary schools —government as well private — from July this year while the schools for class IV and V were reopened from September 1 this year. A decision over up to Class 3 is yet to be taken.

While some experts have been warning that opening schools could be a risky affair, BJP leader and former Haryana Home Minister Sampat Singh had earlier demanded immediate reopening of all schools in Haryana. He had stated: “Lakhs of school students are on the verge of wasting two years due to continued closure of schools since the outbreak of Coronavirus. I fail to see the logic behind the decision to open all crowded places including markets, railway stations, bus stands and industrial units while keeping the schools closed.”



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By Wyatt

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