The Covid-19 pandemic-induced lockdown has had a huge impact on the education systems across the world and school closures affected more than 1.6 billion learners. The initial focus of policymakers was to ensure students would be able to attend classes without disruption, even if the students would have to learn remotely. However, increasing evidence suggests that the lockdown will have a profound long-term effect on the students. This generation risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings --- it is equivalent of 14 percent of today’s global GDP -- in present value as a result of school closures, a recent UNICEF report shows.
In India, UNESCO estimates that nearly 321 million Indian children were affected. Schools and various State governments started holding classes remotely or even on TV, but was this effective? How did children and youth, especially from the marginalized communities, cope with these drastic changes? Now that classrooms are slowly opening up, what should educators and policymakers be looking at?
We talk to Rajeshwari Chandrasekar, Chief of UNICEF Maharashtra, to understand the issue better.