The COVID-19 is the first pandemic of this century and the greatest global challenge the world has faced since World War II. The virus is spreading rapidly and 80% of the cases are asymptomatic which creates a very big problem for the government and they are left with no other option other than imposing a lockdown.
The policymakers are under a dilemma whether to impose a lockdown and save lives or they lift the lockdown and save the economy, and the government has the responsibility of saving both of them. The pandemic has possessed challenges to all countries in more than one ways and various economical & social aspects have been miserably affected. At the same time, the educational field is calling for a ‘Silent emergency’.
The students graduating in this academic year might face huge problems inland a job as the employment rate is going down and people are losing current jobs because of this pandemic as establishments are going out of business and it has become a stagnant period with difficulty arising in creating new jobs. As per the last recession in 2009, the students who graduated from the world’s best universities were not able to get jobs and the history might just repeat itself.
The second major issue being the schools and universities that are shut are advised to take up online classes, the clinch here is the universities that have a lot of students cannot conduct online assessments because not everyone might be able to access proper infrastructure required. They can neither postpone it a lot because most of the students who are completing their graduation this year might want to pursue a master’s degree. Students who are planning to go abroad to study might have a deadline to submit their results because the visa procedure could consume a lot of time.
If the universities postpone their exams they won’t be able to declare the results before the deadline. The universities are likewise not left with some other choice other than dropping the assessments since they can't let such a large number of students squander the time of their life. Along these lines, they need to promote/graduate them relying on the guidelines set by the university.
This would not be a reasonable evaluation as well.
Though the primary focus here is the effected education during the times of lockdown but another problem arising out of the shut schools is “The Mid Day Meal, it is a significant part of the diet of Indian children. The meal is available to all primary and upper primary children (classes 1 to 8) in government schools, government-aided schools and Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) schools.
Two out of three Indian children go to government schools alone (2011-12 India Human Development Survey). In all, at least half of all children in classes 1-8 in India gets a mid-day meal.” Also, a large section of students depended on it for their daily intake of nutritious food which they lack now.
There is evidence that the Mid Day Meal has contributed to the gradual improvement in child malnutrition indicators. The Mid Day Meal scheme explained at least one-tenth of the total reduction in stunting in India between 2006 and 2016. This short term void that has been created by COVID-19 will affect lives in a longer run.
Another problem that we as a country might face due to such an extended lockdown of our economy is the increase in the rate of child labor. “While examining the causes of child labor, scholars have shown that the most important causes are poverty and unemployment.
When parents earn low wages and/or when they do not get enough work to feed the family, they are forced to send children to work. In the cases of orphans or single-parent families (especially female-headed families), the need is even more. Indebtedness, poor asset base, low skill level, and the consequent poverty create such severe constraints on the poor that the vulnerable families have no choice but to use young children for survival.
At the family level, child labor is as a result of the strategy of maximizing output by maximizing employment.”In usual times where the state governments struggle to convince many families from rural areas to send their children to school and create awareness about the importance of primary education with the current situation the economic pressure on the families have increased tremendously leaving the families no choice but to engage their kids into labor to add a hand in the family income.
As many students might face depression or anxiety during this lockdown, schools and universities shall make a team and come up with a general helpline number to ensure that their students aren’t facing any problems and in the case they are the institution is there to help them. Guidelines should be set for the employers to treat the students graduating this year should be treated equally to a student who has graduated in any other academic year.