The lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus has had an enormous impact on education of children. One consequence is the increased inequalities and learning gaps among children. One cannot deny the role of teachers in these challenging times, especially the teachers in J&K who had to teach with low-speed internet, but all of their efforts aren’t enough to make up for the absence of school’s levelling influence. The inaccessibility of classrooms encouraged online learning, but children from lower-income families who were already disadvantaged in educational terms, faced almost a vaccum of learning as they sat idle at home. Such increasing learning gaps are already showing effect as many students begin to fall behind.
The idea of lost learning is based on a distorted view of education as the teaching of one lesson after another. In this view, the grand book of learning is missing a few pages due to lockdown of schools. If we will talk of elementary education, which is the foundation of education, it is increasingly apparent that performance gaps among social classes take root in the earliest years. These gaps fail to narrow down in the years that follow. That is, children who start behind stay behind—they are rarely able to make up the lost ground. These learning gaps not only ruin the future of students but also shatter the dreams of many parents.
This problem can be effectively addressed by incorporating a remedial education dimension into the syllabus and pedagogy. This requires individual assessment and segregation of groups according to requirements. Moreover, policymakers needs to design a plan, rather a strategy, to address this grave issue when these students return to schools bringing this additional disadvantage with them.