The overall education in pre-school and Anganwadi centres in Odisha has taken a backseat, affecting the mental health of children during the during Covid-19 pandemic situation, reveals a survey, titled ‘Paused Classrooms’, which was conducted by ‘Save the Children and Odisha Right To Education (RTE) Forum’.
The admission process of meagre 29 per cent children in the age group of six years has been completed in Odisha so far.
The survey highlights that most of the pre-school and elementary school students have forgotten what was taught to them as the Anganwadi centres remained closed in the State during the pandemic. The pandemic has also slowed down the overall learning process of these children.
The parents and guardians also did not give adequate attention to the studies of their wards in the pre-school level as their livelihood was hit during the pandemic.
In the survey, around 90 per cent teachers opined that the online classes have not helped much in the education of these children. 92 per cent of respondents said that majority of the children lacked smartphones for the online classes in the State.
Another 74 per cent found it difficult to say what can be done about the education of these children.
However, both teachers and parents agreed that children have suffered due to lockdown and closure of schools.
According to experts, students have not seen their schools for the past two years and it has also affected their social development and mental health. They need proper guidance and security, the study concluded.
“The indirect impact on children, who cannot come out to play freely and discontinuance of mid-day meal, has been more than any direct impact of the pandemic on them. Many children spent two years without going to schools,” said Sudarshan Suchi, CEO of Save The Children.
Smruti Ranjan Jena, Researcher, The Paused Classroom said, “When provisions for online classes were made, no emphasis was given on the equipment needed for digital learning for which only 10 to 12 per cent children could be reached.”