Corona Pandemic has deteriorated the Education System of Odisha, and of the country also. The Schools and Colleges have been closed since one and a half year. As a result of which the students have been deprived of from proper education. Now, the shops, markets, malls, religious institutions and cinema halls etc. have been given the permission to open. Yet, the primary and upper primary schools are not permitted to function, resulting in the slow degradation and deterioration of the education.
The Covid-19 Pandemic has led the students from Rural and Urban areas to lose a precious year and a half of their lives. At this situation, the students belong to the Dalit community, the Adivasis, the rural and urban, from poor to middle class, will not only face the difficulties of securing a job when competing with students of the upper class and upper caste people, but they might not even qualify to attend the entrance test for higher studies. As a result, their scope for getting a job will cease. Having no fault of their own, they might feel punished which will have disastrous affect on their mental health.
The students from Adivasi, Dalit, Farmers, Workers, and Migrant Working class community have already left studying entirely. If this closure of schools goes on in a similar fashion, it will be very difficult to bring these kids back to school. The UNICEF report titled- “Schools and Colleges in the Context of Covid” has already highlighted that if schools are opened then 10 % families from poor economic conditions, the scheduled caste, the scheduled tribe and migrant workers etc. would be unable to send their children to the school. They are thus compelled to send their children to work as child labors.
If such situation continues then the successive governments because of the lack of students might just close the schools in the rural areas.
On 6 September 2021, a survey report titled – “Locked out Emergency Report on School Education” have been published after conducting survey of 1400 students from villages and urban areas from class 1 to class 8 of 15 states including Odisha. According to the report, 36% of the students from the rural and 19% of the students from the urban areas have not learnt and studied anything in this pandemic. Only 48% students from villages and 42% students from urban areas, are able to read just a few sentences. The reading and writing habits of the students have drastically reduced. According to the survey report, only 24% of the urban and 8% of the students from the rural areas are able to opt for online classes. Out of them, many students are facing digital discrimination – are not able to afford a smart phone, unable to recharge their mobile data and don’t get a stable internet connection. All these failures lead to the violation of article 21-A of the constitution which assures of “free and compulsory education for all”. The report also shows that 97% of the parents from rural areas and 90% of the urban areas have opined for classroom teaching.
Education through Online classes, television and radio can not fulfil the real needs of the students. Also, online education has brought down the health of the students, doesn’t create an interest in the learning and has brought behavioral changes etc. are some of the instances that have been published in different reports.
Primary Education is the basic for the development of a human being. But the decision of the government to not open the schools violates the constitutional right of “free and compulsory education for all”. So, Ganatantrika Adhikar Suraksha Sangathan, demands before the state Government-
- The schools from class 1-8 should be opened as soon as possible after following the covid guidelines.
- The educational year 2020-21, in which the schools were closed and all the students were promoted to the higher classes should be given a brief recap of the syllabus of the previous classes.
- The online classes should be stopped for all the students from standard 1-8 in both government and private schools.
- The parents of the students whose economic condition is not stable should be given a study allowance so that the child labor tradition will be abolished and everyone should get education.
We request all the non-governmental organizations, Trade Unions, mass Organizations, human rights and democratic rights organisations and teachers associations including political parties to bring these demands to the notice of the Government.
Golak Bihari Nath, President
Deba Ranjan, General Secretary
Ganatantrik Adhikar Surakhya Sangathan, Odisha (GASS)