Recent global estimates suggest that school closures, unequal access to technology-based educational inputs used for remote learning, and other related disruptions due to the pandemic are likely to result in ‘learning loss’ and higher dropout rates, aggravating existing equity gaps in education among other consequences. In India, numerous studies have been done on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country since the first lockdown was announced in March 2020, but very few cover children’s education. Although a lot of digital content has been generated and transmitted to help children continue to learn while at home, there is limited evidence on the extent to which this content is in fact reaching children; whether they are engaging with it; and the impact it is having on their participation and learning.
- About 20% of rural children have no textbooks at home. In Andhra Pradesh, less than 35% of children had textbooks.
- More than 98% had textbooks in West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam. In the week of the survey, about one in three rural children had done no learning activity at all.
- About two in three had no learning material or activity given by their school that week, and only one in 10 had access to live online classes.
- 3% of rural children aged 6-10 years had not yet enrolled in school this year, in comparison to just 1.8% in 2018.
- Enrolment patterns also show a slight shift toward government schools, with private schools seeing a drop in enrolment in all age groups.
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