CSOs urge remedial classes to bridge the learning gap

Bhubaneswar: In a virtual discussion series on MISSION 3-5-8, a nationwide campaign on education, experts urged the state government to focus on school infrastructure use the lockdown as an opportunity to start remedial classes to help weaker students learn faster and be like other students.
Organised by Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha, Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha and Atmashakti Trust, more than 100 CSO representatives across the state joined the discussions entitled “Policy, planning and Approaches of School Education during COVID19” where they cried the lack of required school infrastructure and the woes of online education that has left lakhs of rural children’s education in the lurch.
Participating in the discussion, Ghasiram Panda, National Manager of ActionAid and an Advisor on RtE to Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said that COVID has made us comprehend once again that we are far behind in fulfilling the norms and standards for our schools as envisaged in RtE. It has been the major bottleneck in achieving the minimum level of learning”.
“School infrastructure should also be seen in stand-alone, where it can be designed to see as a community resource centre as in most of the villages these are the only infrastructure to be used in any disaster”, he added.
Education: Odisha fares barely better
“Children, mostly from the poor-families, who study in government-run schools, are the worst sufferers as their learning has taken a halt. Though state governments have offered several online classes, both teachers and students are facing challenges as there is an absence of physical classrooms and proper digital infrastructure. The disparity in access from smartphones, computer, electricity and internet connections also pose a challenge to mitigate the learning gap”, the participants in the discussion lauded.
According to the information shared by School and Mass Education Minister Mr Samir Ranjan Dash, more than 20 lakh children are attending the online classes so far, offered by the government, which stands at only 33.33 %. However, data from the secondary sources claim that only 6 lakh children have so far benefited from the programme. Online classes cannot ensure the education of all children, especially the marginalised children who do not have a smartphone or a laptop added with the costly affair of buying an internet pack.
“Schools are more than learning centres for poor children where children reflect their feeling and the institution promotes democratic value. Schools also provide social protection, nutrition, health and emotional support to the most disadvantaged.
Therefore, the state government should immediately start remedial classes for the students so that the learning gap of these children can be bridged”, the participants urged the government. Yours faithfully,