How to retain children in schools and colleges as an expected dropout may double in 2021.
The pandemic has brought about many hardships, especially for the underprivileged children, who have lost their academic year and forced into hard labor in agricultural fields and industries as many parents lost their jobs due to lockdown, and are now employed into menial jobs. I feel sad & helpless to see so many girl children, mistreated & beaten up at home for attending schools, instead, to do house chores, as either the mother is sick or disabled due to malnutrition, or the both parents are employed.
In many poor economies a girl child is looked upon as a liability to the families, & also look upon her education only benefiting the In-laws. In many instances both the children boys and girls, in poor families are put to hardships, forgoing their education to compensate for the loss in income due to many reasons, and now especially the pandemic in 2020.
Only education can eradicate poverty & uplift the standard of living, increasing Longevity, Good Health, Peace & Happiness in families & improve Economy of the Country.
The worst is yet to come, 2020 has seen an academic year lost, there is a negative GDP growth in every country, many poor economies’ spend on education has dropped to less than half of their earlier GDP ratio. Many children are out of school employed in farming or industry, as parents have lost their jobs, due to the lockdown or their income has reduced, hence the children are not likely to return to schools. The GER- (Gross Enrolment Ratio) in Indian primary schools was only 56% in 2019 where as most of the EU & USA have a 99.5% ratio, the GER ratio is expected to fall drastically in 2021. UNESCO recently released a projection covering 180 countries, estimating that 24 million students many not return to education in 2020 due to pandemic. it only means, more un-educated, unskilled workforce in India.
The positive side of the pandemic is, it has opened up, opportunities in education through use of Technology & Modulation for mass quality education in schools & colleges, and imparting education at a much lower GDP ratio spend, it is now the government’s to innovate new methods of teaching, take initiatives to build the technological infrastructure for the students and educators to access learning and facilitate teaching & secondly, it must incentivize the parents to compensate for their loss of income to motivate their wards to be schooled, thirdly the government must implement the NEP-2020 immediately, especially the Academic Bank Credit(ABC) for all those dropout students to take advantage or their credits, who can not pursue their higher education, can attend and complete with the help of study credit scores in the bank at a later stage. Those countries that can innovate & adapt to new methods of educating their citizens will become the new superpowers in the World.