Crime against children
I read your cover story demanding reopening of schools right away, online. I am an educator who had only six years of uninterrupted schooling. My father was an Indian Army officer and we were transferred to non-family stations every few months. I can avow, with deep regret that broken education, especially in early childhood, has lifelong negative impact. Schools in Europe, Canada and the US use numerous strategies, and even ‘attendance officers’, to ensure that no child misses school without valid reason, as low attendance is a lifelong barrier to learning.
With the Central and state governments in India having shut down schools for 57 weeks, it is akin to a government-sanctioned crime against children. Technology-enabled learning is a tool; not a complete solution. Children need individual, in-person attention that a computer cannot provide. There’s a plethora of research studies that highlight the importance of physical and instructional play for children in pre-primary and kindergarten years. There are significant areas of children’s minds that are developed through collaborative learning with peers, discussion and debate, project-based learning and even the performing arts that are group-based activities. Locking children out from a school for 16 months confines the developing mind to a life sentence, pronounced by a thoughtless jury.
CEO, Shannon Quest
Beware normalcy illusion
Let’s get real before asking to reopen our schools (EW July cover story).
The only antidotes against Covid-19 are vaccination, double masking, testing and tracking. With our current vaccination coverage at a dismal 3.8 percent of the population, we have a big score to catch up with and our run rate has to increase dramatically. Any illusion of normalcy is not the right thing. Vaccination coverage is slipping everyday. This is the house we need to put in order, before attempting to reopen schools.
Manoj Chakravarti on e-maiL
Massive repair job ahead
I fully endorse your cover story (EW July) which forcefully argues for immediate reopening of schools in India. The country’s 57-weeks-long closure of schools — the longest shutdown of education institutions worldwide — has inflicted unimaginable damage to children’s education and their chances of successful future livelihoods. Many surveys have highlighted that primary children’s learning loss is almost 70-80 percent in 18 months, and learning gaps will accentuate as we delay reopening schools.
Moreover, India’s huge digital divide makes it impossible for children from low income households to access any real online learning. Many poor children have already dropped out of the school system and it will be a huge challenge to get them back into school and learning. We have a massive education repair job ahead of us.
Diya Dasgupta on email
Get the name right!
We are very honoured to be ranked among the country’s Top 100 non-autonomous colleges in the annual EducationWorld India Higher Education Rankings for the past three years.
However, every year the name of our college is wrongly published as City College of Commerce and Business Administration (Umesh Chandra College) instead of Umeschandra College. Please make a note and print our college name correctly in future editions of the rankings league tables.
Dr. Md. Tofzzzal Haque
Principal, Umeschandra College, Kolkata
I am a regular reader of EducationWorld. Your interview with author and academic Chinmay Tumbe (EW July) was an eye-opener. It is a revelation that between 1817-1920 the cholera, plague and influenza pandemics killed an estimated 40 million people in India. Yet it is amazing how little we are taught about pandemics in our history textbooks. This is why we are paying heavy price for official and societal mismanagement of the current Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the country.
Education ministry officials and school examination boards should take note of this egregious omission from history syllabuses. Learning from history is critical for preventing and managing future pandemics better.
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