The ongoing public health crisis has turned the education sector upside down and the efforts to teach children during school closures are proving to be challenging especially in affordable private schools due to lack of infrastructure and low-skilled teachers. Parents from low-income backgrounds fear their children will lose an entire year of learning due to the extended closure of physical schools. On the other hand, educators across the country have been grappling on beginning the 2020-2021 academic year once students get back to the physical schools to ensure continuity in learning. With the responsibility of educating the next generation, teachers have always worked under great pressure and the pandemic has only added to the stress and anxiety of these teachers.
Considering Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vaccine distribution strategy, as stated in his meeting with Chief Ministers of States, I urge that the 12 million teachers of India be regarded as frontline and essential workers when thinking of a vaccine roadmap. This becomes critical for the nation’s future and critical for schools & colleges as it will ensure to resolve the current learning crisis. While schools in metros can afford to stay completely online until the spread of coronavirus is curbed, schools in low-risk areas must welcome students in higher classes of 9-12 back to classrooms in a phased manner with strict social distancing and safety protocols. These schools need to adopt a hybrid approach – a mix of online and offline learning so that parents who are uncomfortable sending their kids to school still have an option to continue the studies in case there are sudden lockdowns.
Education is the hope of Bharat in bridging the learning gap between India and Bharat and I believe that our kids should not be deprived of their right to experience real school life while taking all the safety measures — social distancing, sanitisers, and masks.
Sumeet Mehta, Co-founder, and CEO, Lead School, shared his views on the need to regard the 12 million teachers of India as frontline and essential workers when thinking of a vaccine roadmap.