Right to Education: Concerns and Issues in the Pandemic


Participation and access

The inaccessibility of students plagues distance education to the internet infrastructure. Oxfam India’s September 2020 status report states that children attending government schools were particularly affected. The lockdown resulted in more than 80% of the students in government schools in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh not receiving educational material. This was due in large part to the lack of digital access.

Students in rural India had internet access but also experienced poor internet speeds and signal quality.

Well-being and health.

Students enrolled in government schools were entitled to a midday meal program that provided the necessary nutrition they might not otherwise be able to afford. The students might have lost important food due to the closing of schools. This could also impact their health.

Schools used to conduct immunization drives, provide sanitary napkins, and perform health checks.

Mental and social development

Schools and colleges offer more than classes for children. Schools and colleges are also places where children can interact with others from all walks of life. This is crucial for their social and mental development. The lockdown meant the children were kept in their homes without peer-to-peer interaction. Their social skills were poor, and their intellectual and cognitive development was affected.

The Azim Premji Foundation surveyed more than 16,000 primary school students and found that 92% had lost at least one language ability. 82% lost basic math skills.

Financial problems

Many people were unemployed after the pandemic, which severely hit India’s economy. Many sole-earners in their families lost their lives due to the covid-19. Due to the financial burden on their families, many students and dropouts quit their studies.

Conflicting decisions of the State governments, the Supreme Court, and many High courts concerning the regulation of school fees worsened the crisis. Private schools that are not aided maintain their 100% fee policy. Some states were able and able to offer some relaxation or reductions. However, others failed severely. Many students were expelled from school or forced to quit.


No training

Teachers have yet to have the opportunity to learn how to teach digitally. Teachers who needed to be appropriately trained decreased the quality of their teaching. This created a gap between students, as trained teachers received better education than those who weren’t.

There is no government support.

Teachers felt that the government needed to be properly supporting them. Teachers were not provided with digital tools like smartphones, laptops or internet connectivity. Although the government made the online teaching materials available, the teachers needed to be properly trained to use them. Some states only paid salaries to teachers for a few months.

We are reaching students.

Due to the digital divide, teachers could only reach some students digitally. Due to the digital divide, they could not visit students who couldn’t attend classes.

Preference for in-person instruction

Many teachers needed to be more comfortable with the new teaching method and preferred to teach in-person classes. They felt there needed to be more interaction between the students and that teaching could have been more straightforward, regardless of how visually striking the content was.


The Ministry of Education made digital learning content accessible to all students by working hard. The Ministry of Education also collaborated with other organizations to make tech accessible to students. Some of the government’s e-learning platforms include Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing, Swayam, and e-Pathshala.

While the Central Government developed the policies, implementing them is up to the states. The state’s response to digital learning was different. Gujarat, for example, focused on distributing QR codes for online learning materials to students while Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which have poor internet connectivity, focused on television learning programs. Assam distributed worksheets, Kerala focused on teaching via WhatsApp and Kerala focused on textbook distribution.

Pradhan Mantri Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which provided free rations for ration-card holders until March 2022, was also introduced by the Central Government. Each family receives 5kgs of wheat or rice and 1kg of lentils. It was a huge help to the most vulnerable members of society. Their children wouldn’t have to search for work to feed their families.

In July 2020, the Union Cabinet approved the National Education Policy (NEP), which the Ministry of Education implemented. The NEP is an ambitious overhaul of India’s current education system that makes it more modern and resilient as India prepares to recover from the pandemic.

The Government’s Mass Vaccination drive has vaccinated nearly 75% of the adult population. This rapid vaccination drive has contributed to reducing the severity and now schools and colleges across the country are reopening for learning in person.

In May 2021, the government announced a PM Cares for Children scheme for children left orphaned by Covid-19. It provides education for all children who are orphaned by Covid-19. This includes admission to the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya, or private school, and all fees. These children can also receive educational loans, whose interest will be paid by the PM Cares Fund. The corpus of Rs. 10 lakhs is also allocated to aid students in their economic development. The fixed deposit will be held in the child’s name and it will amount to 10 lakhs. This money will be used to pay a monthly stipend for the child between the ages of 18 and 23 years, and the lump sum after 23 years.

Different state governments brought in their plans for orphaned children due to covid-19.

The new financial budget, presented on February 1, 2022, has emphasized education and seeks to close the gap that the digital divide has created. It states that a ‘Digital University’ will be established and made available in various languages. A ‘One class and one TV channel’ is also planned to be established to offer supplementary education in all regions.


Although the pandemic impacted every facet of human life, we are slowly but surely overcoming it. Planning should now be about preventing such pandemics and building the system so that the devastation is less than what happened during this time.

The pandemic exposed the flaws in the current education system. It is time to rebuild it. Here are some suggestions:

Digital Divide: Reduce it.

The Internet has become an essential part of human life. The Internet has made it easier than ever to access information. Digital access has made it possible to see the extent of student suffering during the pandemic. The State and Central governments need to focus on rural connectivity. Access to learning materials would be made easier, which will benefit both teachers and students.

Teacher Training

Teachers are the foundation of our education system. Teachers should be trained in how to access online learning materials and how to teach digitally. This training is vital as if such an event occurs in the future, teachers won’t be shocked and the education sector won’t suffer as much.

Hygiene and Health

We have seen the importance of good hygiene habits through the pandemic. Once in-person teachers resumes are completed, the government should concentrate on making schools and colleges hygienic, and instilling such habits among students. This will help prevent Covid-19 and other diseases among students.

Concentrate on the Marginalized Sections.

Many children would have had to drop out of school and college due to their parents’ unemployment and the lack of education during the pandemic. They have been thrown back years by this. Now, the government must focus on their recovery as well as bringing them back to school.

Data collection

To make targeted investments in education, surveys and data should be collected by the government. The government can also make provision for real-time data collection by schools and colleges by upgrading their electrical and Internet infrastructures. This will allow them to understand the problems of educational institutions better and help them resolve them quickly.


The government may now take action to protect and preserve the teaching staff. They must first ensure that teachers are paid and that schools can reopen quickly if approved. They may also improve safety and health in schools by providing guidance and assistance on issues such as hand washing, and education. Children can replace extended vacations with extra school sessions to make up the lost time. The government may also experiment with changing the traditional school schedule permanently. This would allow for the integration of local rhythms and a learning and teaching timetable that maximizes time spent with children and teachers. Although the coronavirus epidemic was a shock to many, it is not likely to be the last. The long-term goal of ensuring all children and youth in low- and mid-income countries receive education must be maintained by governments. We must ensure that education systems are adequately funded, technology is wisely used, and teachers are protected to guarantee a safe, healthy, prosperous, and secure future.

Teachers, students, and the government made enormous efforts to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic that afflicted the education sector. Normalcy is gradually returning to normal. The focus should now shift from the present to the recovery of the students affected by the pandemic.

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