A study has revelaed the staggering condition of school-going children in four states - Jharkhand, West Bengal, Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir – where 3.9 per cent of the 4000 students dropped out of school due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 3.9 per cent of the 4000 children were found to have dropped out because of the pandemic- induced school closure and more than 75 per cent of the children were found to be “poor” in basic reading skills and calculations, according to an assessment study by Child Rights and You-Rotary India Literacy Mission (CRY-RILM).
In Manipur, the study found that 3.6 per cent of the 1000 students assessed dropped out of school due to the pandemic. The stark ground reality in Manipur mirrors the findings across the three other states in the country, CRY-RILM said.
The assessment study done at Asha Kiran Centres, CRY-RILM said there are 9 Asha Kiran Centres in two panchayat blocks of Imphal West district in Manipur. Of the 1000 children who joined these centres, around 3.6 per cent had dropped out of school because of the pandemic and related reasons and 96.3 per cent were found to be officially enrolled in school, but without age-appropriate learning levels. A staggering 95.9 per cent of the kids were found to be “poor” (learning levels at least two years behind their age-appropriate class) in basic reading skills and 98.7 in basic calculations, the study found.
“The post-COVID learning assessment of 4,000 children across 4 states in the country, by CRY and Rotary India Literacy Mission, presents evidence on the severity of the learning losses incurred during school closures, and also charts out a path of recovery, phase by phase. It’s a journey full of lessons and experiences and a sustained campaign that has impacted not only the kids, but also the teachers, volunteers, parents and extended community. Kudos to the ‘change- makers’ who are making it happen” said Kamal Sanghvi, chairman, Rotary India Literacy Mission.
CRY (East) regional director Trina Chakrabarti is hopeful that change will happen, step by step.
“The learning loss has been unparalleled, the exact ramifications of which will take long to fathom and make up. In this post-COVID world, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing the educational needs of children from underserved communities. Every community, every child and every context are unique. It is important to adopt and embrace contextually relevant and inclusive approaches that take into consideration the diverse needs and aspirations of children,” Chakrabarti said.
The study report stated that over the past 8 months, the teachers at the Asha Kiran Centres in Manipur have managed to bring back the children into some sort of a study environment, with regular classes, innovative Teaching-Learning Methods, extracurricular activities and more. Apart from the classes, the project team has held community meetings with teachers of local schools, local panchayat members, parents and even Anganwadi workers, all to create a comfortable space that will help the children overcome their learning gaps and get back into mainstream education.
It stated that the CRY-RILM project helps kids to learn, anew by sharing children’s story in the press statement.