After Uganda, India saw longest Covid-induced school closures: Govt cites UNESCO report

Union Minister of State for Education Annpurna Devi on Monday said in Lok Sabha India has witnessed the longest school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic after Uganda.

In a written reply to a question, she said, the pandemic has severely affected the education system not only in India but also in other countries due to the closure of schools.

“As per the UNESCO report, India is the second country after Uganda where offline schools were shut for the longest period of time. However, the report does not mention the methodology used in the study and the source of this data is stated to be a study by a non-governmental organisation,” Devi said citing a UNESCO report.

As a precautionary measure to protect students from the COVID-19, many schools were across the world were shut down.

The union minister said the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the education system not only in India but also in nations across the world due to closure of schools.

“This also led to a situation where the Centre, States and educational institutions had to adopt online technologies and blended mode of education at a very rapid pace to ensure continued education of the students,” Devi said.

Wherever digital facilities (mobile device or DTH television) are not available, she said that the Ministry of Education has taken many initiatives like community radio stations and a podcast called Shiksha Vani of CBSE and supplying textbooks and worksheets to students’ residences, among other things.

Under Samagra Shiksha, innovation funds have been used to set up mobile schools, virtual studios, virtual classrooms in schools, Continuous Learning Plan (CLP), (provide) pre-loaded tablets etc., in different states and UTs in remote or rural areas where online classes are difficult.

“The Union Budget 2022-23 has given a major push to education with a total allocation of Rs 1,04,278 crore, which is an increase of nearly 12 per cent over the previous year,” Annpurna Devi said.

(Inputs from PTI)

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